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First Video of Boston Dynamics PETMAN Biped

PETMAN, the self-balancing bipedal robot designed by Boston Dynamics, emerges from the lab for its first prototype demonstration.

1 min read

If you've been impressed with Honda's ASIMO robot, get ready for something far more awesome.

Meet the first prototype of PETMAN, the new bipedal robot being developed by Boston Dynamics. PETMAN, as we discussed previously, is designed to test chemical warfare suits by imitating the same range and speed of motion as a human being -- walking, running, climbing, crawling, and so forth.

What you're seeing here is the first released video of PETMAN's proof-of-concept prototype. Using much of the same hardware as the famous BigDog robot, they've developed a self-balancing (but currently externally powered) prototype that walks on a large treadmill. The prototype has a top speed of 3.2mph -- well over Asimo's top walking speed, and nearly its running speed. It also appears that the walking speed adapts automatically to the speed of the treadmill. 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/v/67CUudkjEG4&hl=en&fs=1& expand=1]

 

You'll also note that those stylin' climbing shoes highlight a heel-toe walking pattern, a big dynamic change from the sort of "hoof" that BigDog has.

I can't wait to see how the actual robot performs. This prototype is already impressive.

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
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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
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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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