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Designing robots for dangerous activities

Tue, 08/30/2011 - 7:09am
Shigeo Hirose at the Tokyo Institute of Technology describes their approach for creating practical robots for doing work too hazardous for humans.

“Some robots can walk on two legs like humans and some even play the flute,” says Shigeo Hirose at the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. “We are not interested in robots that look like humans. Our robots are designed for dangerous tasks that cannot be carried out by humans.”

Hirose says that research can be divided into ‘seeds’ and ‘needs’ based approaches, with the former based on original concepts and the latter on providing solutions to specific application orientated problems.

“I think that it is possible to produce extremely interesting robots by combining these two approaches,” says Hirose.

Here, Hirose describes his research on snake-like amphibious robots that can move in water or on land; rescue robots that can go into rubble; and snake-like arm-robots for car assembly; four legged robots working construction sites; crawler robots for rough terrains such as disaster sites; and Holonomic multidirectional robots for earthquake simulators.

Hirose and his group have also tested landmine robots (GRYPHON) in Cambodia and Croatia for humanitarian missions, as well as underwater robots for coastal regions, which were used in Japan after the Tohoku earthquake in areas affected by the tsunami.

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