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Friday, April 12, 2013

Petman


The PETMAN robot was developed by Boston Dynamics with funding from the DoD CBD program. It is used to test the performance of protective clothing designed for hazardous environments. The video shows initial testing in a chemical protection suit and gas mask. PETMAN has sensors embedded in its skin that detect any chemicals leaking through the suit. The skin also maintains a micro-climate inside the clothing by sweating and regulating temperature.

I think it was Stewart Brand, who started the Whole Earth Catalog, who said "we are as gods, so we may as well get good at it", which I pretty much agree with. But building a robot to test clothing just seems to be a back-asswards way doing things. The robot is obviously not ready for prime time, given that he is tethered six ways from Sunday, but he is pretty damn impressive. I would not be surprised if they came up with this clothing testing project just to have an excuse to exercise their machine. Learn by doing, so to speak.

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