Honda plans nuclear mission for robot

Aug 12, 2011
Japan's Honda is hoping to retool its humanoid robot ASIMO, pictured in April 2011, for a nuclear mission so it can join emergency work inside the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant, a press report said Friday.

Japan's Honda is hoping to retool its humanoid robot ASIMO for a nuclear mission so it can join emergency work inside the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant, a press report said Friday.

The company aims to upgrade the robot's upper body functions so that it can move its arms as smoothly as a human being, with motorised shoulders, elbows and wrists, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported.

The current ASIMO, introduced in 2000 and resembling a small astronaut, stands 130 centimetres (4 feet 3 inches) tall. The bipedal bot can walk or run, carry trays, push carts and shake hands with people.

But to work in the debris-strewn , ASIMO would likely be modified and fitted with tyres or caterpillar tracks, the report said.

No official at Honda's head office was immediately available for comment.

The plant has been leaking radiation from its since its were knocked out by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. At some hotspots radiation is high enough to be lethal to humans.

Robots have already been used inside the plant to take video footage, including the US-made PackBot and Japanese-made Quince crawler robots.

Explore further: A robot dives into search for Malaysian Airlines flight

More information: Update: Corporate Affairs & Communications, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. commented:

"Regarding your recent story about ASIMO, please note that this report is speculation. Although Honda hopes that ASIMO will someday be a helper to people, at this point the robot is solely a research and design project."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Japan mulls new robot help with nuclear disaster

May 03, 2011

Japan may be at the forefront of robotics and its children raised on cartoons of robot heroes and villains, but the country has so far had to rely on US-made machines for help tackling its nuclear crisis.

Japan says plant clean-up will take decades

Jul 09, 2011

Japan's prime minister said on Saturday the decommissioning of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant would take decades, in the first government announcement of a long-term timeframe for the clean-up.

Mickey Welcomes ASIMO To Disneyland's 50th Anniversary

Jun 06, 2005

Mickey Mouse welcomed ASIMO to a new home in the Honda ASIMO Theater, inside Disneyland park. Guests visiting the popular Innoventions attraction at the park can now see ASIMO (Advanced Step in Innovative ...

Areva to set up treatment system at Japan plant

Apr 19, 2011

French nuclear group Areva said Tuesday it will set up a system to treat radioactive water from a quake-hit Japanese power plant to allow power supplies and cooling systems to be repaired.

Robots to gauge radiation in Japan's quake-hit plant

Apr 18, 2011

The operator of Japan's stricken nuclear plant said Sunday it will send two remote-controlled robots into a reactor building damaged by a hydrogen explosion to gauge radiation and temperature levels.

Recommended for you

A robot dives into search for Malaysian Airlines flight

Apr 18, 2014

In the hunt for signs of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370—which disappeared on March 8 after deviating for unknown reasons from its scheduled flight path—all eyes today turn to a company that got its start ...

Simplicity is key to co-operative robots

Apr 16, 2014

A way of making hundreds—or even thousands—of tiny robots cluster to carry out tasks without using any memory or processing power has been developed by engineers at the University of Sheffield, UK.

Students turn $250 wheelchair into geo-positioning robot

Apr 16, 2014

Talk about your Craigslist finds! A team of student employees at The University of Alabama in Huntsville's Systems Management and Production Center (SMAP) combined inspiration with innovation to make a $250 ...

Using robots to study evolution

Apr 14, 2014

A new paper by OIST's Neural Computation Unit has demonstrated the usefulness of robots in studying evolution. Published in PLOS ONE, Stefan Elfwing, a researcher in Professor Kenji Doya's Unit, has succes ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Bob_Kob
not rated yet Aug 13, 2011
Ha, What did I say when this first happened. Japan has robots galore and yet when the disaster happened they had not one that could help them. I suggested that they should just hook up asimo with some gear and throw him in - looks like they listened!

More news stories

Growing app industry has developers racing to keep up

Smartphone application developers say they are challenged by the glut of apps as well as the need to update their software to keep up with evolving phone technology, making creative pricing strategies essential to finding ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.