For years I have railed about Japan’s humanoid robots that don’t actually have any useful function —Japan hits a dead-end for robots (3Yen | 2010-07-17). Now robot-poor Japan has to come to grips with the grim fact that they not have any useful bots to aid in the Fuk U shima nuclear meltdown.
Robots fail a nation when needed the most
SMH.com | April 2, 2011
Inside a nondescript warehouse south of Mannheim, Germany, a dozen robots, ranging in size from a low-slung inspection bot no bigger than a toy wagon to a 22-tonne Caterpillar excavator, stand ready to respond to a nuclear emergency. With their electronics hardened to withstand radiation, the versatile machines can handle fuel rods as well as monitor doses that would kill a human engineer. A similar robotic quick-response squad is housed near the Chinon nuclear power plant in France.
In Japan, where the Fukushima nuclear crisis is three weeks old, the question is: Where are the robots?
The answer is disquieting, say Japan's top roboticists. Instead of building robots that go where humans never could, Japan, renowned for its robotics expertise, invested in machines that do things that humans can already do – such as talk, dance, play the violin and preside over weddings...more….
Well, at least in this time of need Japan has a Hello Kitty-ROBO 3Yen / 2010-09-03