Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on Dawn.com.

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience

.

Toshiba unveils dog-like robot for Fukushima plant

Published Nov 23, 2012 10:14am

Engineers inspect Toshiba's four-legged robot during a demonstration at Toshiba's technical center in Yokohama, suburban Tokyo on November 21, 2012. Toshiba developed a tetrapod robot, enabling it to carry out investigative and recovery work in TEPCO's Fukushima nuclear power plant. The robot weighs 65 kilograms and can move over uneven surfaces. - AFP Photo

YOKOHAMA, Japan, Nov 21, 2012 - Japanese nuclear reactor maker Toshiba on Wednesday unveiled a remote-controlled robot resembling a headless dog that they hope will be used at the battered Fukushima power plant.

The tetrapod, which weighs 65 kilograms (143 pounds) and is about one metre (3 foot, four inches) tall, is designed to be able to cover difficult terrain - such as going up steep steps - that regular robots struggle with.

The robot's triple-jointed legs are designed to give it maximum flexibility, with engineers saying it will be able to go into spaces where high radiation makes it impossible for workers to do so.

The robot can carry a load of 20 kilograms and is equipped with cameras and a radiation meter, expected to help workers decide which parts of buildings are safe to enter and for how long.

Toshiba's four-legged robot climbs steps during a demonstration at Toshiba's technical center in Yokohama, suburban Tokyo on November 21, 2012.  - AFP Photo

The machine can also carry a small wired vehicle equipped with a camera and send it out to crawl into small spaces to carry out inspections.

Toshiba engineer Goro Yanase said the as-yet unnamed robot could be upgraded to carry more than 80 kilograms, climb ladders and step over obstacles up to 50 centimetres (20 inches) high.

Robots have already been used inside the wrecked plant to take video footage, including the US-made PackBot and Japanese-made Quince crawler robots, but Toshiba is awaiting the go ahead from plant operator TEPCO to deploy its creation.

The massive earthquake and tsunami of March 11 last year sparked an atomic emergency at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in the northeast of the country.

Efforts to clear up after the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986 are still continuing, with high levels of radiation hampering operations.

The decommissioning of the crippled plant is expected to take several decades.