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Research and Academics
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Humanoid Robot to Test Warfighter Protection Equipment
Midwest Research Institute lands a Phase IIa Army contract to develop a robotic mannequin for testing and evaluation of personal protection equipment against chemical weapons.
By Robotics Trends Staff - Filed Nov 23, 2010

An individual protection ensemble on a robotic mannequin will undergo live chemical-agent exposure.

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Midwest Research Institute (MRI), an independent research organization located in Kansas City, Mo., has been authorized to proceed with the Phase IIa of the Individual Protection Ensemble Mannequin System (IPEMS).

Funded by the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense and the Joint Project Manager for Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Contamination Avoidance, the effort involves fabrication and startup of a facility capable of performing environmentally controlled testing on an individual protection ensemble (IPE) under live chemical-agent exposure conditions. 

The IPEMS features a chemical-agent test facility (exposure chamber and supporting structures) and a free-standing, self-balancing robot that simulates human physiology. Once complete, the mannequin, dressed in IPE, can be tested using a variety of environmental conditions and simulated warfighter activities in the presence of a chemical agent. Phase I, completed in March 2010, included the design of the system. Phase II will include the procurement, fabrication, assembly, building renovation, installation, testing, and operator training of the system, as well as software development and preparation of operating procedures.

MRI, the prime contractor for the award, will continue to serve as the systems integrator and is responsible for systems engineering, program management, integration, and chemical testing.  MRI’s subcontractors for the award include: Boston Dynamics, responsible for the robotic mannequin design and fabrication; Measurement Technology Northwest, responsible for the mannequin physiology; Sensor Research and Development Corp., handling mannequin chemical sensor development; Smith Carter CUH2A (SCC), designer of the containment chamber; and HHI Corporation, responsible for construction and installation of the exposure chamber. 

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