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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Disaster robots at Fukushima

Credit: Toshiba 
Toshiba has demonstrated a new remote controlled robot that uses dry ice to vacuum up radiation at Toshiba's technical center in Yokohama. The robot has two boxy machines the size of large refrigerators and moves on crawlers that are remotely controlled. Each machine has four cameras that allow the device to “see” what it is doing. The robot can theoretically clean a space of up to two square meters per hour, but the current system can only hold enough dry ice for half an hour. The engineers will test the robot first at a separate nuclear plant this month, aiming to introduce it to the battered Fukushima nuclear plant this summer, Japan Today reports.
Credit: Toshiba tetrapod
In November 2012 Toshiba unveiled a remote-controlled tetrapod robot aimed to use at the Fukushima power plant. The robot, which weighed 65 kilograms (143 pounds) and was about one metre (3 foot, four inches) tall, was designed to be able to cover difficult terrain—such as going up steep steps—that regular robots struggle with. In December, it successfully photographed some of the critical part of the plant's reactor No 2, where high radiation makes it impossible for workers to walk in.

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