The Army's next top model
October 31st, 2011
01:46 PM ET

The Army's next top model

By National Security Producer Jennifer Rizzo

The Terminator's "I'll be back" promise has been upheld with an advanced robot soon to be added to the military's arsenal of machines. The new human-like bot is being built for the Army to test chemical protective clothing.

Robot maker Boston Dynamics released a new video of the humanoid robot they call PETMAN. In the video, PETMAN is seen walking on a treadmill, bending and even doing push ups. At one point in the clip the robot is shoved by one of the engineers and the robot reacts by just sliding over and continuing on its way.

Meant to mimic the human form and range of movement PETMAN is able to perform various activities– walking, crawling, and calisthenics– all while exposed to various chemical warfare agents, according to Boston Dynamics.

To help provide real world results the robot, is also able to simulate human body reactions like sweating by controlling the temperature and humidity inside the protective suit.

It has cost about $10 million to develop the 180 pound, 5' 10" robot. The price to develop additional units has not been set yet.

In development since 2009, the robot has been through preliminary tests and is expected to be delivered to the military next year after a head and an articulated neck are installed.

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Filed under: Army • Technology
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. the_dude

    Agreed. These should be modeled after the most vicious land and sea predators not human beings. The human body is not the pinnacle if you are talking about pure killing ability. These should be modeled after 4-legged hunters a that attack quietly without warning.

    November 29, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Reply
  2. Chris

    Neat but dumb. I never understood why you would model a combat robot after humans? Humans are slow, weak, awkward, and generally unbalanced compared to just about any successful predator on the planet. Among many limitations, our basic skeleton is seriously flawed. Not just when you look at its ability to withstand high impact forces but also in ranges of motion, alignment, proportion, and dimension. Face it, without tools/weapons, we're just part of the food chain.

    I'll be more nervous when they model a bot after a cat.
    Make a head with a turret and some kind of electric driven chainsaw,
    Dimensions/build of a leopard.
    Standard chromoly claws but give it retractable fingers and thumbs for grasping, tool use, and brachiating.
    High speed, low drag, all terrain and a small target profile.

    Then model the heavy version after a grizzly.

    Now that would chill me to the bone.

    November 6, 2011 at 10:00 am | Reply
    • Nik

      You should have wasted less time watching "Transformers: Beast Wars" and read the article. This isn't a combat robot. It's for testing chemical suits that are going to be worn by humans, and therefore needs to simulate a human.

      November 6, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Reply
    • AmesIA

      @Nik – You are correct that this is in effect test equipment. One does wonder though, if you could have the full range of motion of a human...why not just use these machines instead of putting American meat into chemical warfare suits?

      November 16, 2011 at 9:14 am | Reply
  3. mc117

    any way this can be incorporated into a master chief suit?

    November 4, 2011 at 11:35 am | Reply
    • Marvin Gardens

      Now that would be worth the 10 mil.

      November 29, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Reply
  4. gelbkreuz

    "At one point in the clip the robot is shoved by one of the engineers and the robot reacts by just sliding over and continuing on its way."

    We all know how that will end some day

    November 3, 2011 at 10:43 am | Reply
    • S

      Yeah. One day they won't be able to shove it at all.

      November 3, 2011 at 11:23 am | Reply
      • Guest

        in stead of it shoving them it will be KTFOING them

        November 3, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
  5. Peter

    Military research has spinoffs that enhance our lives in ways we could never imagine.The funds for such work are tiny when compared with the non-lethal industries and jobs and products that grow out of military research. Look at that robot – it isn't just a robot – it is software and sensors and motors and articulation systems and balance technology breakthroughs that are going to have applications in all areas of human life – think surgery, rehabilitation of accident victims, care of the elderly, construction, search and rescue, education, etc. Let your imagination flow.

    One technology developed years ago that was used to make tiny pellets of uranium for military use has led to machines that analyze individual cells at great speed; that medical research spinoff work has led to new drugs, advances in reproduction techniques, detection of new pathogens, advances in cancer detection and treatment etc. The military may be a feared entity because of the potential for destruction, but we all benefit from it -that is a reality we cannot escape.

    November 3, 2011 at 6:24 am | Reply
  6. Joe

    being in the army and witnessing mass amounts of budget cuts, is. this necessary? 10 million could have gone to many other places besides a robot that can do push ups. the robot is impressive, but i think the money is needed more elsewhere

    November 2, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Reply
    • joe

      lets give you a million and put you in a suit test it with all sorts of chemical weapons and see if it works. It could save the govt. 9 million...

      November 16, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Reply
  7. CHRIS101

    Put em' in the battle field. Bring the troops home.

    November 2, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Reply
    • Guest

      Dude putting the in the battlefelid would only lead to more problems. Sure we could send more troops home the robots could get out of hand and need humans to actually help them

      November 3, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Reply
  8. amust

    gound level drones

    November 2, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Reply
  9. george

    This is a peek at the future. 10,000 years ago man invented the wheel and he saw the future of mobility. Now the wheel is a common sight in our everyday lives. 10,000 years from now advance robots will be as common as the automobile. And maybe Will Smith will be the patron saint of robots.

    November 2, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Reply
  10. markodavid

    What a TOTAL waste of of human potential.The money and talent invested here is a crime against humanity.And the government wonders why people don't want to pay taxes.This is of all things least cool.

    November 2, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Reply
    • AD

      Yeah, what a waste. I too preferred when they used soldiers of real flesh and blood to test new chemical agents. What is the world coming to?

      November 2, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Reply
      • S

        I hear being exposed to harmful chemicals is what truly builds character. Whats that saying, no pain no gain? Apparently some still want others to experience the remorse that comes with gaining the knowledge that they probably would have done anything in their power to decline such a job, things like build robots to do the jobs for them.

        November 3, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • Guest

      its not a complete waste i mean less troops would come home not in a box knowing that they have some thing they can
      actually run behind of when the bullets start flying ROFL.

      November 3, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Reply
  11. jardel

    very nice!

    November 2, 2011 at 11:20 am | Reply
  12. Bobby G.

    It's cool... untilyou realize it's coming for YOU!

    November 2, 2011 at 7:31 am | Reply
    • Guest

      I since god isnt going to kill us skynet is only is only a genration away.... THATS ONLY 5 YEARS AWAY!or 10,000

      November 3, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Reply
      • Guest

        My bad just saying though terminator is only right around the corner.

        November 3, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
  13. El Duderino (if you're not into the whole brevity thing)

    The 600 series models had rubber skin. We spotted them easily. But these are new, they look human; Sweat, bad breath, everything (Terminator, obviously).

    November 2, 2011 at 5:00 am | Reply
  14. dudley0418

    tooooo cooool

    November 2, 2011 at 2:02 am | Reply
  15. HxC19D

    It has a sort of strut when it walks...hahaha

    November 2, 2011 at 12:52 am | Reply
  16. Nyema Wimbush

    i think this is COOL!

    November 1, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Reply
  17. Pistoya

    They dont compare with the fleet of drones we have in Houston. A swat team member no longer has to assault a crime scene. They can aim weapons from thousands of feet away, Its beautiful.

    November 1, 2011 at 8:28 am | Reply
  18. donna

    First!

    October 31, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Reply

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