A couple of years ago we took a look at Boston Dynamics' amazing PETMAN, a humanoid robot designed to simulate the physiology of soldiers operating within protective suits. Early looks at the PETMAN showed interesting, but not terribly organic movement from the humanoid robot. However, as a new video shows, things have changed, drastically.
The latest footage of PETMAN shows a humanoid robot that moves so fluidly that at times it appears as though you're not looking at a robot, but rather at a human inside of a jumpsuit. Of course, there are still a few points at which jerky motion hints at the robot's artificial underpinnings, but in general, this new footage of PETMAN is probably the first humanoid robot motion to truly evoke images of a real-life Terminator.
Aside from the visual aspects of the demonstration, the robot also has sensors embedded in its "skin" that allow it to detect any chemicals that might leak into the protective suit. PETMAN also reproduces the conditions of a human wearing such a protective suit by mimicking sweating inside the suit.
Developed with funding from the Department of Defense's (DoD) Chemical and Biological Defense program, it's difficult imagine that the DoD wouldn't, at some point in the future, look at the PETMAN as a potential combat soldier, which would bring the Terminator sci-fi scenario full circle into reality. You can see the PETMAN in action the video below.
Via Boston Dynamics