The 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
- China's leader is telling the People's Liberation Army to prepare for war
- The religious right isn't retreating — it's reforming
- How I lost all my money
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- 10 things you need to know today: December 22, 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- A brief history of the Christmas present
Subscribe to the Week