Robots to join the Japan Tsunami relief effort

QinetiQ and iRobot send out robots to protect human helpers

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 as well. The Talon packs onboard Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive detection kits to monitor the dangers of the site. The TALON 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 have 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.

Via: QinetiQ, Technology Review