Looks like Boston Dynamics’ super creepy hazmat robot, Petman, just got a new best friend. Say hello to Porton Man, the Ministry of Defence’s brand new $2 million, animatronic robot pet.
Developed with Formula 1 technology, the high-tech mannequin is covered in over 100 sensors, all the better to test new kinds of military gear with. Because in addition to aiding in the development of lighter armour, Porton Man will also go up against various chemical warfare agents, much like Petman did in his lovely hazmat suit.
And though the Ministry has just announced the robot’s arrival, he’s actually the second incarnation of a UK military testing bot. Porton Man’s older brother was a clunky, 176-pound beast that was nearly impossible to move around. So i-bodi, the firm building the robot, went back to the drawing board and took advantage of the same types of carbon composite parts you’d find in a Formula 1 race car — ultimately shaving off an entire 14kg of robot.
In addition to being lighter, the new Porton Man is also more realistic. His design is the culmination of data taken from 2500 different soldiers, meaning he’ll offer more accurate results in terms of how the gear will fare on actual soldiers. Now all Porton Man needs is a Big Dog he can ride to glory. [BBC]