She looks friendly, right? But don’t be fooled; Robo Sally (full name: Bimanual Dexterous Robotic Platform) is designed for combat.
Sally was created by those geniuses behind so many of our favorite futuristic technologies, the folks at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab. She’s designed to help humans in dangerous situations, whether detonating bombs in Afghanistan or investigating chemical spills in Texas. And she’s been crafted with “human capabilities projection” in mind, meaning that she’s supposed to function in a human-like manner, with limb and hand dexterity, a tactile feedback device, and complex control mechanisms. Like humans, she can “see” (using two anthropomorphically spaced cameras mounted on her pan-tilt neck, which provide a video feed for her operator) and “feel” (using haptic feedback technology developed by the APL’s prosthetic limb wizards). Unlike humans, she can zip along at 20 mph without getting winded.
“We can foresee the day the platform might address a wounded soldier and take the place of a battlefield medic, tending to a gunshot wound or shrapnel injury,” says Matthew Johannes, one of the project’s principal investigators. “Right now, that level of capabilities might seem far off, but the end goal is to develop a system that can replicate human functions in the harshest environments.”
Sally, it is lovely to meet you; we hope we’ll be seeing more of you in the future!