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November 1, 2011 2:27 AM   Subscribe

Boston Dynamics, home of the amazing bigdog robot (previously, SLYT), has released an impressive video of their new bipedal robot PETMAN walking, squatting and doing pushups.
posted by FrereKhan (32 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by FrereKhan at 2:30 AM on November 1, 2011


Why is this so much less creepy to me than the bigdog robot, which freaked me out so badly I had to get up and go for a walk around the block the first time it was linked to me? PETMAN just sort of struts with purpose, but it's just as uncanny and ominous as anything else this company has made... yet it doesn't give me the heebyjeebies.
posted by Mizu at 2:39 AM on November 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maybe because PETMAN is (currently) tethered, plus we've seen Asimo and other realistic humanoid robots before.

I think the thing about Big Dog is the jaunty 'hup-two-three-four' bouncing gait, or the way it has four legs but they're humanoid legs as opposed to the type quadrupeds have.

And the 'chase and chase and chase and never tire and stomp and stomp and stomp' ...
posted by GallonOfAlan at 2:43 AM on November 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Mizu, I think it's still jerky and odd and inhuman when it's doing it's calisthenics, but for me the basic walking motion is actually so good it's come out of the uncanny valley. Try covering it up from the waist up and see how it looks to you.
posted by adamt at 2:45 AM on November 1, 2011


It's happening. All they need to do is make Watson small enough to be the head and we'll be staring the Singularity in the face!
posted by Mooseli at 2:58 AM on November 1, 2011


They're building this thing to test clothing? Seriously?

As someone with an interest in robotics, this is not the first time I've seen roboticists come up with silly justifications to get the military to fund their hobbies - and succeeded. I doubt this will be the last either. :-)

Go you crazy roboticists! You're making better use of the bottomless defence wastefulness than many.
posted by -harlequin- at 3:21 AM on November 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Whether you're a brother, or whether you're a mother.
posted by lantius at 3:30 AM on November 1, 2011 [30 favorites]


Does it build up bigger servos by doing pushups?
posted by Horselover Phattie at 3:33 AM on November 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Great. A sweaty bipedal robot. Called... Petman? Pet... man? Designed, supposedly, to test biological and chemical warfare suits. Supposedly. That thing could carry a pack with the addition of a small but noisy 2-stroke engine and pneumatic or hydraulic compressor combination, just like Big Dog.

Why are all the cool technologies based on aggression, tactics and strategy?
posted by loquacious at 3:41 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like the random shoes on the robot. The walking is impressive, but the shoes are the high point for me.
posted by that girl at 3:44 AM on November 1, 2011


For me I think it was the reverse-hinged front legs that made the bigdog a little creepy...
posted by pete_22 at 3:46 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good to see PETMAN is about as good at push-ups and walking on treadmills as I am. I may just survive the uprising.
posted by doublehappy at 3:53 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why don't they have a video of PETMAN riding on BigDog?

THEY HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY
posted by orme at 4:15 AM on November 1, 2011 [14 favorites]


They're building this thing to test clothing? Seriously?

As someone with an interest in robotics, this is not the first time I've seen roboticists come up with silly justifications to get the military to fund their hobbies - and succeeded. I doubt this will be the last either. :-)


(Disclosure: I know quite a few of the BDI guys) I've been told this came from the Army, not from Boston Dynamics. Putting a chem suit on a mannequin, even a smart mannequin, doesn't allow you to test the extremes of the chem suit's protection. A mannequin sits still, maybe posed. A moving mannequin, or robot, can test it while running, crawling, jumping, and so on. Do seams stretch? Does a seal come loose? These are things the suit designers can figure out without sticking a person inside, which, obviously, is not desirable. So while there may be many other reasons to build a humanoid robot, this one had an immediate and obviously advantageous application and DARPA was willing to give it funding.

Now, the robotic cheetah, that one I'm skeptical of.
posted by olinerd at 4:32 AM on November 1, 2011


BigDog's most freaky thing, to me, is lack of head.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:43 AM on November 1, 2011


Do seams stretch? Does a seal come loose? These are things the suit designers can figure out without sticking a person inside,

Or stick a person inside and test the seams with the full range of human motion using non-lethal gases and solvents, (then afterwards, with the suit well worn in, or worn out, test with lethal chemicals and a scarecrow?)

I guess if you're going to be wearing the suit, maybe you might find comfort in the idea that it was robotically tested? It's certainly an improvement over the previous methods of using conscripts as test subjects.

Still, interesting that this idea came from the army. Thanks for the clarification!
posted by -harlequin- at 5:22 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Please put down your weapon. You have 20 seconds to comply.
posted by SPUTNIK at 5:35 AM on November 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


In a couple years we'll be reading an FPP about a texas sheriff buying one of these for surveillance.
posted by 445supermag at 6:16 AM on November 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


But it still doesn't move as well as the beta version of BigDog.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:22 AM on November 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


I got a little irrationally angry when that one dude shoved PETMAN.

apparently my empathy now functions for animals and robots. THIS IS PROGRESS YOU GUYS.
posted by elizardbits at 6:34 AM on November 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


I love that his walking gait is almost like a dance to some cheesy 80s beats.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 7:43 AM on November 1, 2011


well see the thing is bzzz

bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 8:06 AM on November 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ironically, "petman" is also the term they will eventually use to refer to us.
posted by Edogy at 8:19 AM on November 1, 2011 [8 favorites]


I love that his walking gait is almost like a dance to some cheesy 80s beats.

Without even testing it out I am going to state that it syncs very well with Daft Punk's da funk.
posted by elizardbits at 8:41 AM on November 1, 2011


Without even testing it out I am going to state that it syncs very well with Daft Punk's da funk.

Quite well.
posted by jedicus at 8:48 AM on November 1, 2011


There's no way the military should be let anywhere near this technology. Doesn't anybody read Asimov anymore?
posted by newdaddy at 10:44 AM on November 1, 2011


I have a crush on this robot. He's so cute. He has a reflector for a head.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 11:42 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


> In a couple years we'll be reading an FPP about a texas sheriff buying one of these for surveillance.

Yeah, and after that, one of these things will come back from the future looking for...

Oh, never mind.


posted by mmrtnt at 12:17 PM on November 1, 2011


Whether you're a brother, or whether you're a mother.

Try this: using the next MeFi fpp with the BigDog.
posted by coolxcool=rad at 1:41 PM on November 1, 2011


I think the thing about Big Dog is the jaunty 'hup-two-three-four' bouncing gait, or the way it has four legs but they're humanoid legs as opposed to the type quadrupeds have.
Plus, they're facing in opposite directions, like the legs of two people working together, facing eachother to carry a load. It's weird.

What's interesting is that not only is this thing walking in a human way, it's walking with an almost swagger. Human walks actually say a lot about how a person feels, and are accociated with emotion and whatnot, and this robot walks in a way that signals it's got shit to do and it's going to do it. On the other hand this robot (I think it's a Honda Asmo) "Walks like shit itself" according to (according to Karl Pilkington)


I think a lot of that simply has to do with the number of motors and servos you need to fully emulate human movement compared to simply being able to walk and stand upright.

Anyway, the Army obviously spends a lot on general research. The "Test clothes" argument doesn't make all that much sense. But as this technology matures it could be used to replace soldiers on the field.
posted by delmoi at 6:14 PM on November 1, 2011


Imagine if you could put these on Mars...talk about remote exploration! They could cover in a week what the Mars Rovers have covered in years. Send 2 or 4 along with some tools, supply them once a year, and remotely build a base before we get there.
posted by CosmicRayCharles at 8:20 PM on November 1, 2011


On the other hand this robot (I think it's a Honda Asmo) "Walks like shit itself" according to (according to Karl Pilkington)

Actually it walks more like it shit itself.

posted by xorry at 12:09 PM on November 2, 2011


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