Toshiba unveils robot to help in nuclear disasters

Toshiba unveils robot to help in nuclear disasters

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Electronics manufacturer Toshiba Corp. unveiled a robot on November 21, 2012, which the company says can withstand high radiation and can be helpful in nuclear disasters. However, it is still unclear as to what exactly the machine will be capable of doing when it receives the permit to enter the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan.

The robot has four legs and is capable of climbing debris and also venture into the radiated areas which are off-limits to human workers. Toshiba said that it is a significant innovation and the robot’s wireless signals can be controlled in a high radiation environment. It also automatically seeks better transmission when the reception becomes week.

The robot looks like an ice cooler with wobbly metal legs which appear to be prone to glitches. During a demonstration of the machine for reporters, the robot took a jerky misstep and froze with one leg in the air. It then had to be lifted by many people and rebooted.

It was also noticed that the robot was quite slow in climbing a flight of eight steps and was cautiously lifting one leg at a time. It took about one minute to climb each step. Toshiba went on to say that when the robot will be confronted with uneven objects in the nuclear plant, it may take as long as 10 minutes to be able to find a clear path around debris, as it is currently designed to climb flat and well defined surfaces like steps.