If you’ve seen any of the Terminator movies, you should be afraid. This is it without Arnold’s skin covering it. The funny part is that PETMAN is being billed as “an anthropomorphic robot designed for testing chemical protection clothing.”
Before you start thinking that it sounds reasonable, keep in mind that this is a project that is funded by a “Robotics Challenge” put out by DARPA. For those not familiar with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, it is widely speculated that they are responsible for the most secretive and advanced military projects that the US government develops.
Here’s their explanation:
Unlike previous suit testers that had a limited repertoire of motion and had to be supported mechanically, PETMAN balances itself and moves freely; walking, bending and doing a variety of suit-stressing calisthenics during exposure to chemical warfare agents. PETMAN also simulates human physiology within the protective suit by controlling temperature, humidity and sweating, all to provide realistic test conditions.
The chances that they’re truly in the market for an extremely advanced and maneuverable robot that can mimic human movement for the sole task of testing clothing is absurd.
Here are some images of the robot followed by a video of it in action. Take a look and ask yourself if this is something that’s designed to try on clothing.