After Fukushima, Vanderbilt researchers study radiation’s effects on robots via Vanderbilt School of Engineering

After the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster, investigators used robots to determine the extent of the damage and begin cleaning up.

The question is how well robots can stand up to that sort of radiation and whether the humans using them can count on the data gathered.

The university’s Institute for Space and Defense Electronics team exposed infrared, sonar and laser range finders to gamma radiation. The infrared range finder became unreliable, the sonar range finder showed some variations and then failed, and the laser range finder didn’t change but failed suddenly at a low dose.

Robots at Fukushima were exposed to gamma radiation, which slowly degrades electronic parts, said Arthur Witulski, a research associate professor of electrical engineering with ISDE. He presented the paper at the GOMACTech Conference.
[…]Gabor Karsai, VU professor of electrical engineering and senior research scientist at the university’s Institute for Software-Integrated Systems, and his team are working on failure modeling language for robots exposed to radiation. Among other things, it allows robots to sense whether they’re able to complete the assigned tasks with the level of degradation they’re experiencing.

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