Japanese robot readied for nuclear reactor

Robots have their many uses, and one of the most important relates to disaster response efforts. One such unit was sent by the US to the Fukushima power plant after it was damaged by the earthquake and flooding last year, but Japan is hard at work creating its own such units. A robotics lab has created a second prototype that will eventually be used at Fukushima once it has been fully completed.

"Rosemary" is said to be the size of a lawnmower and capable of traversing obstacles thanks to the four extended treaded feet, able to swivel up and down in order to navigate terrain. The robot is capable of climbing up angles of 60 degrees, and can carry a total weight of around 132 lbs. An onboard camera and laser rangefinder are used to determine surroundings, and the internals of the robot are also shielded to prevent damage from radiation and other elements.

All video data is sent back to a remote unit in real time, and the robot is controlled using a console gamepad for ease of use. The original prototype of the robot was originally meant to be used in collapsed subway tunnels, but eventually made its way to the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant in light of the disaster. The new prototype will be demonstrated by the Future Robotics Technology Center at the Tokyo Skytree broadcast tower in Tokyo before making its way to Fukushima in the next few months.

[via CIO]