New robot tasked to explore irradiated parts of Fukushima unveiled
Chiba Institute of Technology have just unveiled a complete prototype of their new multi-purpose robot. It is to become another of the many robots designed to brave the radiation-contaminated areas around the Fukushima I nuclear power plant.
Named as the Sakura no. 2, this disaster response robot is intended as an eventual replacement for the Quince robot, which was one of the primary robot units that was deployed to Fukushima since June 2011, 3 months after the fateful nuclear accident. Indeed, the basic design and overall construction layout of Sakura no. 2 closely resembles its predecessor. The software to be used to control the robot is even based on the one that Quince uses.
Sakura no. 2′s dimensions are 510(W)x180(H)x720(L) mm. The primary component of Sakura no. 2 is its arm, which has a weight of 20kg and maximum extension length of 180cm. Like most other CBRNE (Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear and Explosive) disaster response robots on the market, the arm is installed with a LED light, and has a hand grip, which is capable of holding and lifting objects with a maximum weight of 4.5 kg. With its free and adjustable track wheels, it can run up to 50cm/sec, and can climb areas with a maximum elevation of 45 degrees. The entire unit’s weight is 48 kg, and it could support an additional load weight of about 50 kg. With its 700Wh Li-ion battery, it can stay operational for about 8 hours.
One of the more important features of Sakura no. 2 is its capability to completely operate underwater. It has particulate and liquid proofing qualities that are equivalent to an IP67 rating, which means its performance won’t be compromised by dust or immersion to at least 1m of water.
Commercial viability of Sakura no. 2 is now going underway with the help of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., starting from Japan, then extending to the international market. They hope to standardize the robot’s use in other disaster fronts as it is deployed by other organizations and/or corporate entities. Announcements about its actual price are yet to be made however.
Source: PCWatch (JP)