Toshiba 4-legged robot to venture into nuclear power plants
One thing’s for sure – nuclear power plants are not exactly the safest place in the world to be, never mind that it delivers far more energy to the world compared to traditional methods, although there is the issue of disposing of nuclear waste in a clean and efficient manner. After all, all of that garbage will still need to go somewhere, right? Well, the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March last year still lingers on in the memories of many, where entire towns were leveled, and the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant of Tokyo Electric Power Company Inc. was crippled, resulting in it being a radiation hazard to the general public. It was rather ironic that Japan had to enlist the help of robots from the US in order to help in the clean up, which is why the Japanese decided it would be best to come up with home grown robots just in case something similar (keep your fingers crossed that it doesn’t) happens sometime down the road. Toshiba has come up with a version of a four-legged robot that will help out in nuclear plants.
This particular Toshiba robot will see action for surveillance as well as recovery operations in areas where it is not deemed safe for humans to work. Boasting a camera and a dosemeter among other hardware specifications, this Toshiba robot can be remotely controlled in order to check on the state of power plant’s innards, especially in areas where the radiation levels are way too high for a human to venture into safely, lest he or she turns into a green rage monster – or something.
Sporting an algorithm which Toshiba came up with in order to control the robot so that it can walk on an irregular ground or steps alongside its multi-jointed structure, this particular puppy is capable of getting up and about on all four legs, all the while avoiding obstacles in addition to navigating through stairs without missing a beat – in both directions. This would allow it to operate in areas where wheeled and crawler-type robots are unable to work in.
Toshiba is also kind enough to throw in a tiny vehicle which can be hooked up to the four legged robot with a cable, where this add-on will be tasked with snapping photos of the facilities around, various equipment and pipes that are located at the ends of narrow paths and behind structures. Toshiba intends to continue developmental work of the robot so that it can be more utilitarian, installing shields, stopping water leakage, as well as taking out obstacles.