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article imageWatch DARPA's lifelike PETMAN robot test chemical warfare suit

By JohnThomas Didymus     Apr 6, 2013 in Technology
The video shows the PETMAN robot, an eerily lifelike robot created by Boston Dynamics to test the performance of protective clothing designed for hazardous environments. The robot is also designed to test other military equipment.
Digital Journal reported in April, 2012 that the robot is being developed by Boston Dynamics for the US Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA). According to the designers, the robot can "balance itself, move freely; walk, do a variety of suit-stressing calisthenics during exposure to chemical warfare agents."
PETMAN is undergoing initial testing in a chemical protection suit and gas mask. The robot moves with lifelike steps on a treadmill, bends and strikes several lifelike poses. It has the ability to maintain balance and execute realistically human body movements. It balances itself when pushed from the side by side-stepping in compensation for the force applied.
The company's website explains: "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 purpose of designing a robot capable of executing lifelike movements is to test chemical warfare protective suits by reproducing how a soldier would likely stress the suit under various real-life situations.
The developers test how the protective clothing reacts to the robot's movements when it is exposed to chemical warfare agents.
Boston Dynamics explains that the robot can also "simulate human physiology," by imitating human sweating using temperature and humidity controls.
The robot has sensors embedded in its "skin" that can detect any chemicals leaking through the suit. According to Boston Dynamics, the skin simulates human physiological responses to wearing a protective suit. It maintains a microclimate inside the clothing through sweating.
The Daily Mail reports that developers will be testing the robot by exposing it to chemical warfare agents such as sarin and mustard gas.
Boston Dynamics developed the robot for DARPA with funding from the DoD CBB program. The company's partners in developing the robot were MRIGlobal, Measurement Technology Northwest, Smith Carter, CUH2A, and HHI.
More about petman robots, PETMAN, Robots, Boston dynamics, Darpa
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