I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords. Yes, those geniuses over at Boston Dynamics have finally done it: created something even creepier than their last robot, BigDog. The Protection Ensemble Test Mannequin (a.k.a. PETMAN) is finally reporting for duty after a 13-month design phase and 17-month build phase.
The man-sized robot moves like a human being, pumping its arms and even balancing itself when pushed. PETMAN’s function is to test clothing that will hopefully protect U.S. Army soldiers from chemical agents in the future.
(PHOTOS: Cyberdyne’s Real Robot)
Still, it’s hard to look at the human gait of this anthropomorphic robot and not imagine armies of Terminator-style robots marching over an apocalyptic hellscape. The fact that it has an ominous red light in place of a head doesn’t make it look any friendlier.
The thing even sweats; PETMAN is programmed to simulate human temperatures and humidity when testing out protective clothing. It’s also capable of performing squats, push-ups and other simple exercises, which means science has finally brought us the tools for realistic robot training montages in action movies.
Other robots in the company’s stable of machines: the aforementioned BigDog (designed to carry heavy loads for soldiers), the wall-climbing RiSE and the shape-shifting SquishBot. Skynet … oops, I mean Boston Dynamics, was originally founded as a spin-off of MIT back in 1992.