MRIGlobal reported yesterday that it has completed work on a robotic mannequin and containment chamber to test protective equipment for the U.S. Department of Defense. When fully implemented, the system will make it possible test the effectiveness of protective military clothing when exposed to dangerous chemicals.
The five-year “Individual Protection Ensemble Mannequin System” (IPEMS) project was awarded in November 2008. It was the impetus for the development of PETMAN, which was designed to simulate realistic soldier movements by subcontractor Boston Dynamics. PETMAN, in turn, served as the basis for Atlas, the humanoid robot that will be competing later this month in the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials.
MRIGlobal says humans are currently still used to test protective gear, using non-toxic chemicals that mimic chemical warfare agents. IPEMS will remove humans from the equation and allow for fully reproducible tests of chemical warfare agents, with near real-time feedback when there is a problem.
IPEMS now resides at the Army’s Dugway Proving Ground, Utah.
[ photo courtesy of MRIGlobal ]