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Boston Dynamics' New Petman Video Must Be Watched With This Soundtrack

Sounds of the '70s put a disco spin on humanoid robot PETMAN

2 min read
Boston Dynamics' New Petman Video Must Be Watched With This Soundtrack

Boston Dynamics gets five demerits for posting this new video of PETMANafter our Video Friday post last week. I mean, seriously, don't they keep track of our schedule over there? It's a must-watch video, and even if you've already seen it, here's a reason to re-watch it: it's now got a killer '70s soundtrack.

Here's what you have to do: click play on the first video, and then click play on the second video right afterwards so that they're both playing at the same time. It's worth it. (If you're using an iPad, it won't play two videos at the same time—at least mine doesn't—so play the song in your head!)

Go on, try and not listen to the rest of the Bee Gees music video. And let's come up with a way to get Boston Dynamics to post a video of PETMAN walking around in a pair of those pants. Indeed, I bet they've dressed PETMAN up in all sorts of crazy things behind closed doors. I'm sure they've even tried to get it to moonwalk, and I'd pay good money to see a video of that.

PETMAN may have recently been eclipsed by ATLAS, but the two robots are designed for two different purposes: ATLAS is more of a human-replacement type robot, whereas PETMAN is specifically intended to test out military gear like chemical protective suits and masks:

PETMAN is an anthropomorphic robot designed for testing chemical protection clothing. Natural agile movement is essential for PETMAN to simulate how a soldier stresses protective clothing under realistic conditions.

Unlike previous suit testers that had a limited repertoire of motion and had to be supported mechanically, PETMAN balances itself and moves freely; walking, bending and doing a variety of suit-stressing calisthenics during exposure to chemical warfare agents. PETMAN also simulates human physiology within the protective suit by controlling temperature, humidity and sweating, all to provide realistic test conditions.

It still seems to us like that's an awful lot of trouble and expense to go through to just test wearable military stuff, but hey, if it means that Boston Dynamics can keep developing these incredible full-size humanoids, we're all for it.

Thanks @ken_goldberg!

[ Boston Dynamics ]

The Conversation (0)

The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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