The Uncanny Valley kicks you in the ass: freaky-weird disembodied robolegs

Paul Raven @ 30-10-2009

A brief scan of the intertubes shows that I’m pretty much the last person to see this, but just in case you haven’t seen it either here’s footage of Petman, a walking robot prototype from Boston Dynamics [via grinding.be, and loads of other places]:

That’s just… hell, I don’t know what it is, I don’t have a word for it. Creepy, awesome, strangely intimidating? All of the above? Anyway, Boston Dynamics (whose name makes me feel like I should be in an episode of Fringe) are the people who brought you BigDog, the strangely pathetic headless canine pack-mule robot which has been bouncing in and out of the geek quarter of the blogosphere since around 2006. According to Technology Review, Petman will be used for research into protective clothing for military personnel, hence its inbuilt ability to sweat in response to environmental changes.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking; we don’t even have robots smart enough to fetch our breakfast yet, but already they’ve designed one with the ability to sweat. I can’t help but feel there’s something deeply and disappointingly wrong with this development curve.

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