PETMAN Humanoid Robot

PETMAN (Protection Ensemble test Mannequin) is a humanoid robot to be used for testing chemical protection clothing for the US Army.


(Petman )

PETMAN will do lots of things that soldiers will be expected to do while wearing protective suits: balance and move freely, walk, crawl and of course perform those suit-stressing calisthenics.

Natural, agile movement is essential for PETMAN to simulate how a soldier stresses protective clothing under realistic conditions. The robot will have the shape and size of a standard human, making it the first anthropomorphic robot that moves dynamically like a real person.

The development program has a 13 month design phase followed by a 17 month build, installation and validation phase, with delivery of the robot taking place in 2011. Boston Dynamics' partners for the program are Midwest Research Institute (MRI), Measurement Technology Northwest, Smith Carter CUH2A (SCC) and HHI Corporation who will construct the chamber.

Technovelgy readers may recall the somewhat similar Sweatbot SAM the Sweating Agile Mannequin which will be used for the development of fancy athletic clothing. The SAM robot is the most accurate depiction of the American consumer ever created (see second photo).

Devices like the PETMAN Protection Ensemble test Mannequin remind me of the Toy Testing Dummy from Philip K. Dick's deliciously paranoid 1959 story War Game.

Propped up in the center was a sight that caused Wiseman to halt. A plastic life-size dummy of a child, perhaps five years old in appearance, wearing ordinary clothes, sat surrounded by toys. At this moment, the dummy was saying, "I'm tired of that. Do something else." It paused a short time, and then repeated, "I'm tired of that. Do something else."

The toys on the floor, triggered to respond to oral instructions, gave up their various occupations, and started fresh.

"It saves on labor costs," Pinario explained.

20-Aug-2009 Update: I've added an entry for consumption robots from The Midas Plague by Frederik Pohl. In the story, which was published in 1954, robots were called upon to help human beings consume faster and more efficiently. I also added the illustration from the original magazine appearance of this story - so take a look at the consumption robots. End update.

Update note: See a more recent Petman robot video, taken of their prototype. Source: Boston Dynamics PETMAN.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/21/2009)

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