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by   -   April 2, 2014


Drone’s eye view of Hisanohama, Fukushima prefecture. The blue marker indicates the drone launch point. © Mapbox © OpenStreetMap

tumblr_inline_n5n0khEZzH1s4nvewIt’s been three years since a massive magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami destroyed large parts of the eastern coast of Japan and incapacitated the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Life for many of the displaced families, however, has far from returned to normal; around 150,000 residents of the prefecture are still living as evacuees in temporary accommodations, and many villages are still too contaminated for people to return. What is the current state of the cleanup and reconstruction effort? Drone Adventures teamed up with Taichi Furuhashi, researcher at the Center for Spatial Information Science at the University of Tokyo, to try to answer this question.


Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Why aren’t there more intelligent mobile robots in real world applications? It’s a good question, and one I’m often asked. The answer I give most often is that it’s because we’re still looking for that game changing killer app – the robotics equivalent of the spreadsheet for PCs. Sometimes I place the blame on a not-quite-yet-solved technical deficit – like poor sensing, or sensor fusion, or embedded AI; in other words, our intelligent robots are not yet smart enough. Or I might cite a not-fully-developed-capability, like robots not able to cope with unpredictable (i.e. human) environments, or we can’t yet assure that our robots are safe, and dependable.

Based on a media rountable discussion with DRC Program Manager Gill Pratt and CEO of the Open Source Robotics Foundation Brian Gerkey.

The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear disaster was a wake-up call to the robotics community. In Japan, many asked why a country known for its cutting-edge robotics sector was unable to respond to the emergency. Worldwide, robotics experts pointed to the event as a real-world test of what robots can and cannot do.

Whether man-made or natural — or like Fukushima, a combination of the two — major catastrophic events, while rare, are becoming increasingly costly as human populations worldwide move to urban areas. This is why, in an effort to spur the development of agile humanoid first-responders, the US Department of Defense’s strategic plan identifies disaster response as a priority area, and why it is funnelling tens of millions of dollars into the DARPA Robotics Challenge.

by   -   February 27, 2013

The Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc. (MRI) invites the robotics community to upgrade and to develop a technical catalog of robotic technologies to move and investigate inside nuclear reactor buildings, namely 1) a flight technology to enable access to the top floor of the nuclear reactor building and 2) a technology to move around and conduct investigations under water in a flooded reactor building.

by   -   January 22, 2013

New Japanese exoskeleton pushing into HAL’s (potential) marketshare
We of the robot/technology nerd demo are well aware of the non-ironically, ironically named HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb) exoskeletal suit developed by Professor Yoshiyuki Sankai’s also totally not meta-ironically named Cyberdyne, Inc. Since its 2004 founding in Tsukuba City, just north of the Tokyo metro area, Cyberdyne has developed and iteratively refined the force-amplifying exoskeletal suit, and through the HAL FIT venture, they’ve also created a legs-only force resistance rehabilitation & training platform.

by   -   October 23, 2012


This compact explorer robot, called Sakura, being developed by the Future Robotics Technology Center (fuRo) at the Chiba Institute of Technology, is the latest in their line of disaster response robots, and has been designed so it can enter and survey the basements of the damaged Fukushima nuclear reactor buildings.

“Sakura’s mission is to go into the underground levels of nuclear power plants. It’s very compact, as it has to go down stairways just 70 cm wide, and turn around on landings that are also 70 cm.”

IASP 2016 (Part 2 of 3): Trik Embedded Platform
May 13, 2017

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