Hybrid Assistive Limb Exoskeleton Will Help In Case Of Nuclear Disaster
Since the 1980s the Japanese government in cooperation with industry giants and research centers has been investing millions into robotics, in order to control possible aftermaths of accidents. After the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011 it has made really huge efforts in this area and has already begun testing various robotic technologies. As part of this initiative the University of Tsukuba spin-off Cyberdyne has designed the Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) exoskeleton: much of its weight, including tools used for repairing damaged pipes, can be carried by the exoskeleton’s legs. In order to protect body this suit features tungsten shielding, reducing radiation exposure by about 50 percent, as well as a cooling system to prevent heatstroke. Researchers from the Chiba Institute of Technology (CIT) are now working on the remotely-operated robots that can enter radioactive areas. Sakura, their last unmanned robot, negotiates stairwells and narrow passages by moving on tank-like treads; it can be used to inspect pipes, radiation levels, temperature, and humidity. The New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) reports, that the robots will be unveiled to general public during Japan Robot Week 2012.