Robots to join the Japan Tsunami relief effort

QinetiQ and iRobot send droids to protect human helpers

Image 1 of 4 QinetiQ TALON
Image 2 of 4 QinetiQ Bobcat
QinetiQ Bobcat
Image 3 of 4 QinetiQ Dragon Runner
QinetiQ Dragon Runner
Image 4 of 4 iRobot Warrior
iRobot Warrior

US robotics companies send robotic helpers to Japan to aid recovery attempts

Two U.S. robotics companies, QinetiQ and iRobot have offered aid to Japan's nuclear disaster in the form of unmanned robots.

As radiation levels continue to rise, a very brave team of humans have been doing their best to contain the situation. However rising concerns over the safety of human workers has increased the need for helpers of the cyborg kind.

QinetiQ is sending over several of its Robotic Appliqué Kits which it claims are able to convert an ordinary Bobcat Loader into an unmanned vehicle in only 15 minutes.

After the quick conversion the Bobcats can be operated remotely from up to a mile away, clearing rubble, breaking through walls or doors, and relaying video and sound to the operators.

QinetiQ is also offering up its TALON and Dragon Runner robots to the cause. The Talon, which packs onboard Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive detection kits to monitor the dangers of the site, has been used extensively in Iraq and also at Ground Zero after 9/11.

The Dragon Runner is a backpack-sized robot designed to navigate small or dangerous spaces that a human would not be able to access and relay video, audio and thermal data to its control unit.

iRobot has also delivered some robotic helpers in the form of two PackBots and two Warriors. Both run on caterpillar tracks and feature a robotic gripper on an extendable arm, however, the Warrior is much larger and can lift up to 200 pounds.

Both companies have sent out teams of trained operators to control the robots but will ultimately deploy the robots wherever the Japanese wish to use them.