Japan shows off disaster-response robots

Japan is known for its frequent volcanic and seismic activities as its lies along the western edge of the Ring of Fire, where several continental and oceanic plates meet. The archipelago nation is the home to 118 volcanoes, and the country experiences regular earthquake, the strongest of which occured in 2011, that triggered powerful tsunami waves destroying large areas of the country and claiming almost 230,000 lives.

Earlier this week, Japan displayed a pair of two-legged humanoid robot, which they hope will one day be used to offer emergency support and relief in the aftermath of national disasters including earthquakes and volcanic eruptions in the country.

Called HRP-2 Kai and , JAXON (red and yellow colored), these robots have tiny heads attached with sensors and can operate in harsh conditions. They were developed in a project under the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, which was started following a devastating magnitude 8.9 earthquake and tsunami hit northern Japan in 2011. The robots were presented at the International Robot Exhibition in Tokyo.

During the presentation, the two robots performed a mock earthquake response, walking through fake debris and extinguishing fire. But unlike Hollywood movies where robots can run, jump, fly, transform, these robots are slow and steady type. The sensors on the head let the robots recognize where to put the feet.

HRP-2 Kai, which is 1.7m tall, walked on a narrow plank, while 1.88m-tall JAXON, moved forward by bending its back and putting both hands on the floor, judging that the ceiling was too low to move upright. It then lifted itself up to remove a box and debris to secure a pathway. 

However, the humanoid robots are far from perfect, suffering from balance problems in rough terrain. JAXON suffered an embarrassing incident, when it tumbled and had to be carried away on a stretcher. The organisation hopes for further improvements before the robots can be relied upon in real-world situations. The team behind the project predicts it may take as little as five years before the robots are ready for commercial use.


Kaiser Bey
Kaiser is a tech enthusiast who likes to write, read and talk about tech. He dreams of going to Mars and never come back. We hope that you find his posts on AndroGuider helpful and informative
Japan shows off disaster-response robots Japan shows off disaster-response robots Reviewed by Kaiser on 12/06/2015 03:37:00 PM
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