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Robots Recruited to Help Battle Radiation Problem

25 March 2011 One Comment

Robots have joined in the fight to contain the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. As the brave employees battle to prevent a meltdown, robots have arrived to monitor the radiation levels and help clean up.

First on the scene was MoniRobo (Monitor Robot), a 52 inch tall, 1300 pound bot designed specifically for operating at lethal levels of radiation. It was developed by the Japanese Nuclear Safety Technology Center after the 1999 nuclear accident in Tokaimura which resulted in 2 deaths .

The robot is equipped with a radiation detector, 3D camera system and heat and humidity sensors. It has arms which it can use to manipulate the environment. Heavy shielding protects its electronics from high levels of radiation. There is also a second MoniRobo used to collect samples and detect flammable gases. Both can be remotely controlled from up to 1.1km away.

Hoping to join the mission are four US made iRobot gadgets; two PackBots and two Warriors. PackBots are usually used for explosives ordinance and disposal and the Warrior is a prototype that is not yet available commercially. Having arrived in Japan on Monday, the robots had to be modified so they could be more helpful; The PackBots were fitted with radiation sensors and the Warriors were modified so that they could carry fire hoses.


Also willing to help out is Canadian company Inuktun, makers of remote controlled cameras and crawler robots. There bots are usually used to inspect pipes and sewers. They could be really helpful in accessing internal damage at the Fukushima plant.

via: Engadget, Daily Mail , Scientific American

Dayne Barton
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