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A New Robo-Soldier Will Test Chemical Warfare Suits 29

Posted by samzenpus
from the beginning-of-the-end dept.
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "When it comes to military tech, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) usually makes the headlines with its gadgets, gizmos, and kickass robots. It's a prolific supporter of robo-defence projects, from Boston Dynamics' Cheetah and its cousin Big Dog to autonomous hands and unsteady humanoids. But the latest piece of military robot news comes from across the Atlantic at the UK's Ministry of Defence, which has unveiled an animatronic man to test suits and equipment for the British armed forces. 'Porton Man' looks pretty impressively modern and human-like until you realise he's stuck to a clunky external frame that moves his limbs like a puppet. But hey, at least he's not stumbling through steps at a snail's pace before inevitably crashing to the ground, like DARPA's cyborg hopefuls. The frame lets Porton Man run, walk (sorry, 'march'), sit, and kneel in mid-air, to mimic the common movements of a human soldier. He can also hold his arms up as if sighting a weapon."
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A New Robo-Soldier Will Test Chemical Warfare Suits

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  • Anyone care to explain why there is a picture of a British phone box in the summary?
    • I'm pretty sure that the Phone Booth is the International Symbol for Britain.
      • by johnsie (1158363)
        Except people in Britain stopped using phone booths a number of years ago and they have been transparent since the 1990's. It's just typical Hollywood style stereotyping. Maybe the next article about the UK will have a picture of a red double decker bus or a London Underground sign.
        • by MrMickS (568778)

          That's not 100% true. The majority of phone boxes in cities have been replaced by see through ones, you still see the red phone box in rural areas. In some villages the red phone box is considered a listed building and cannot be removed, though some of them are no longer functioning phone boxes.

    • by iggymanz (596061)

      and why is that TARDIS red hot?

  • reminds me of the old joke.

    Q: what is the first step to determining if the area is now safe to un-mask?
    A: ask the new guy if you can borrow his rifle for a second.

  • We can't pay poor people a few bucks to eat, but we've infinite cash for surveillance and war. Who the hell is threatening us with chemicals? The US had THE stockpiles of nerve toxins on this planet. We still haven't gotten rid of it all. And for what did we make enough poison to wipe out all life on earth a million times? We seem to be the biggest threat on the planet, by far.

    • look at the Ukraine and this

      http://www.euronews.com/2014/0... [euronews.com]

    • by MrMickS (568778)

      Money makes the world go around. We've yet to reap the peace dividend that should have resulted from the end of the cold war. It turned out that finding other ways to employ those people that were making arms to combat the Soviet threat was too difficult for the politicians. Instead they have identified new threats so as to keep the arms business going.

      That said the cost of this is minuscule compared with the UK maintaining its *independent* nuclear deterrent, though who we are deterring now I've no idea.

    • >Who the hell is threatening US with chemicals?
      You answered that question. If the US military is practically sitting on a heap of chemical weapons, then they need proper clothing.
      Probably also a good choice of gear if they plan vacation on the Syrian beach.

  • Pretty sure Walt Disney was doing this a long time ago, just without the "chemical suit testing" excuses, and on a much smaller budget.
  • This is not the first humanoid robot for this purpose. Meet PETMAN [bostondynamics.com]

    PETMAN is an anthropomorphic robot designed for testing chemical protection clothing. Natural agile movement is essential for PETMAN to simulate how a soldier stresses protective clothing under realistic conditions.

    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 expos

    • Glad you linked this, since I was about to do the same. It's a bit disingenuous of the summary to point out other Boston Dynamics programs and then implicitly suggest that this new robot is something different, rather than putting the two up against each other. PETMAN has been around for quite awhile, since I recall linking to it a couple of months back when iRobot's CEO (the company that makes Roomba) made some comments about bipedal robotics being a bad idea.

  • This summary reads like a Fringe episode synopsis. Are there any former Boston Dynamics co-founders currently in a mental institution, claiming they crossed universes after ingesting some homemade lsd?

  • Wow.. another first for technology.
    Pretty soon you can die on the street for no 'honor' like the single (surprising how many were 'unattached' after their wife learned of injuries. Mental or physical - at least they all were well honored and a monument was put up for those with the good grase to die there - where they were suppose to.
    "See - we spend $30 dollars - if was worth it!")
    Good deal - love progress.

It seems that more and more mathematicians are using a new, high level language named "research student".

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