he video: After weeks of sending humans into the potentially deadly radiation at the leaky Fukushima nuclear plant, Japan is deploying a fleet of 23 newly designed robots to help. The Quince robots (see video below) are designed to withstand up to two sieverts of radiation — more than twice an instantly fatal dose for humans. They're waterproof enough to move through puddles, and can be remotely operated from more than a mile away. The compact, 60-pound bots will take video and measure radiation in areas humans can't safely access. Japan... robots... what took them so long?
The reaction: Japan is the "superpower" of robotics, but its scientists have been pressured to focus on "home-use and humanoid robots" that can dance, sing, clean, and play the violin, says Andy Choi in AZoRobotics. That's why Japan has had to call in U.S. and European robots, or quickly develop new ones, to go where humans can't. Well, "if any profession was going to be made obsolete by robots, I'm glad it's the St. Bernard," says Brian Barrett in Gizmodo. "Godspeed, tiny rescue robots!" Now, watch these mechanical heroes at work:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
- Colorado’s new ‘drive high, get a DUI’ commercials are actually pretty clever
- Why is American internet so slow?
- 7 ways to be the most interesting person in any room
- Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza's dad: 'I wish he'd never been born'
- Ukraine's fraught relationship with Russia: A brief history
- 10 things you need to know today: March 10, 2014
- Why is it so expensive to build a bridge in America?
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Who are the real gay marriage bigots?
Subscribe to the Week