he video: Bipedal robots usually move awkwardly, much like a toddler first learning to walk. But the "Terminator-esque" Petman, the latest creation from robotics shop Boston Dynamics, is no clumsy tyke. The headless humanoid has the proportions of a full-grown man, and is capable of gracefully running 4.4 miles per hour and balancing itself when pushed. Petman can even pump out squats and push-ups. (Watch a video below.) Beginning next year, Petman, which cost $26.3 million to develop, will work for the Army, testing special clothing engineered for chemical warfare. (Hence the name "Protection Ensemble Test Mannequin," or Petman.) Creators suggest that Petman could one day take on other jobs that are hazardous for humans, like working inside a nuclear reactor or fighting a fire.
The reaction: Petman's "resemblance to the T-800" played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the first Terminator film "is uncanny," says Tim Hornyak at CNET. You might as well put Petman in a muscle suit and watch it "become a movie star." I can already imagine Petman in actual combat, says Spencer Ackerman at Wired. That "remorseless flashing red light atop its shoulders"? Incredibly useful for "scaring the hell out of an enemy." See for yourself:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like
- Why are so many elderly Asians killing themselves?
- Driverless cars may be an environmental disaster
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why I'm sick and tired of seeing naked women on HBO
- Here's proof that Justin Bieber is just as spoiled as you always thought
- Watch Zach Galifianakis get annoyed at President Obama on Between Two Ferns
- 4 easy ways to resolve life's toughest questions
- Why Ted Cruz is the real-life Frank Underwood
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
Subscribe to the Week