Merging man and machine: The exoskeleton-powered droid that can punch through walls

Man becomes machine

This wall-punching bot may look fearsome but it's being designed for the best of reasons.

The person-powered droid is being built by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to save lives in disaster zones.

The Hermes robot is controlled by the person wearing the exoskeleton. The bot not only mimics the full body movements of its human controller, but also shares some of that individual's agility and adaptability.

"Hermes is a humanoid platform that we've been trying to develop to deploy to disaster situation scenarios," PhD student Joao Ramos said, adding that Hermes could be used in areas too dangerous for people.

"We're trying to put a human's brain inside the robot. We want to take advantage of what humans can do and the way they can learn and adapt to face new situations."

Melanie Gonick/MIT

By Nick Heath

Nick Heath is a computer science student and was formerly a journalist at TechRepublic and ZDNet.