BETTER YOU THAN ME

This WALK-MAN robot can go places too dangerous for humans

Humanoid robots may not be ready to take your job. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be useful.

Researchers at the Italian Institute of Technology built a robot they called WALK-MAN that they say is uniquely capable of assisting in emergency situations. Humans control the machines using a virtual reality headset and a tracking suit that’s designed so the robot mirrors their movements. That way, the robot can go places too dangerous for humans, while the humans operate the machine from a safe distance.

There’s still significant work to be done: the robot is fairly slow, so it’s not well-suited for time-sensitive work like saving people from an unstable building. But watch the video above to see some of the work the robot can do, and get a sense of where the research is headed.

home our picks popular latest obsessions search