Friday, 23 Nov, 2012 Technology

Latest Invention: Toshiba Builds New Robot for Inspecting Fukushima Nuclear Plant


Recently the tech giant Toshiba has presented its four-legged inspection robot. The machine was built with the goal of performing works at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, location where people still are unable to go.

The invention is called Quadruped walking robot and it features a smaller wheeled robot that at any time can be deployed so it could search through hard-to-reach regions.

It would be interesting to note that the robot can negotiate stairs, run across an uneven terrain, and dodge low-lying obstacles.

The tsunami provoked by an earthquake that struck Japan in March 11, 2011, led to severe damages at the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Despite the fact that some parts of the plant have been decommissioned, there's still unspent nuclear fuel that emits lethal radiation. This is where robots equipped with cameras and radiation dosimeters are being used for inspection purposes.

Toshiba's larger robot weights 143 pounds (65 kg), is 3 feet, 5 inches (106 cm) tall and can work non stop for up to 2 hours on a single charge. Its walking speed is 1 km/h (0.6 mph). The smaller machine weighs 4.4 pounds (2 kg), and its battery allows the robot to work for about an hour. The two robots are operated through a wireless network.

According to the Japanese company, it will carry on improving its robots by adjoining radiation shielding, water-proofing, and upgraded control behaviors for various situations.

[via Toshiba press release (Japanese) via Gigazine (Japanese)]

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