Don't you wish Japan would send in robots to fix the reactors?
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Don't you wish Japan would send in robots to fix the reactors?

Tōkyō : Japan | Mar 16, 2011 at 8:16 PM PDT
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With all the news online about Japan's advanced robots, that is robots that work as nurses' assistants, look after the elderly, lift children onto examination tables, even robot dogs that act like real dogs, wouldn't you think someone would have thought of designing a robot that could fix a nuclear reactor without exposing humans to radiation?

The world's robot designers need to design a robot that can fix a nuclear reactor faster than humans can do the job. You'd think with all the robot competitions that come up annually at universities, Researchers at various scientific competitions would invent a robot that could fix a nuclear reactor. The robot might take orders from a remote location, away from radiation.

Interestingly, robot nurses are news as well as robot hair washers. See the article, Japan's Panasonic develops robot hair-washer. Japan's Panasonic only a few days before the Earthquake unveiled a new robot that can scan a client's head using 3-D technology. Then the robot shampoos the client's hair and massages the client's scalp. The robot has rubbery fingers. It's time to invent a robot to work with radioactive disaster sites and similar natural disasters. Rescue robots are doing their job finding people in the rubble.

How green is the health trend of robots worldwide? Rescue robots are doing their job helping find people caught in the rubble of Japan's earthquake and tsunami. But where are the robots intelligent enough to fix nuclear reactors? And why aren't the rescue robots mentioned more in mainstream news media? Why are robots washing hair and massaging scalps but not yet fixing nuclear reactors?

News is about 'green' health trends when any given country can send in robots instead of sacrificing canines to dangerous situations in disaster areas or exposing human workers to high radiation levels in emergency situations. See the article, Japan Earthquake: Robots Help Search For Survivors - IEEE Spectrum.

If robots are 'smart' enough to search for survivors in the rubble, why can't the robots also be designed to obey commands to fix broken nuclear reactors? Robots need to be built to handle disaster situations. And robots need to be tested in simulations to see whether the robots can fix nuclear reactors. But so far, the robots are being used for rescue work or to gather data to help humans.

When will robots be trained to fix what human's can't fox because of the danger of radiation or other hazards such as lack of oxygen in mines? Robots could be sent down into mines where humans would be in danger because robots don't need oxygen.

You have lots of Japan's leading experts working with rescue robotics that are deploying wheeled and snake-like robots to assist emergency responders in the search for survivors of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck the country last Friday.

With all the news online about Japan's advanced robots, that is robots that work as nurses' assistants, look after the elderly, lift children onto examination tables, even robot dogs that act like real dogs, wouldn't you think someone would have thought of designing a robot that could fix a nuclear reactor without exposing humans to radiation?

You see all the advanced electronic technology coming from Japan to stores all over the globe. Why not a fix it robot designed to work in radioactive, hot, and dangerous places where no human can go without exposure?

Instead of designing robots that look like pretty nurses and focusing on the robot's faces, how about designing robots that can work with radioactive materials or go into space where humans can't go and carry out orders to fix what's broken or replace parts? Could it be that the technology still isn't advanced enough for substituting for humans in radioactive conditions, but are smart enough to rescue humans from rubble?

Robots can be used instead of humans and rescue canines to go into dangerous places and be able to carry out orders to find and rescue and also to fix and decontaminate. But why are robots being developed more to deal with people in ways which other people are working currently than to fix nuclear reactors? Human's can't be sacrificed to accept high radiation levels. But robots might be able to do the job, if qualified technologically.

See the article, Commercialization of nurse robots seen in 5 years › Japan Today. Apparently, what mainstream media usually covers are other kinds of robots coming out of Japan, namely the nurse robots or the pet dog robots. See the article, iRobot CEO: Robot nurses to cut health care costs | Crave - CNET.

See the video, Robot nurse of the future? Would robot nurses and caregivers be more in demand than human nurses? And would older people prefer a human or a robot caregiver, for example, if the older adult was confined to bed in a state nursing home and insisted on a camera to video record the caregiver, human or robot?

What would you want if you needed a nurse? Or would robot nurses remain as observers reporting information to humans as they moved from one hospital room to another? Also see the video, Actroid-F: Japanese Hospitals Test 1st Realistic Robot Nurse (Video).

There's another robot nurse in Japan, designed to look more like a big, cuddly teddy bear than a human. See the website, RIBA Robot Nurse Coming To Hospitals In Japan - Gizmo Watch. RIBA, - "Robot for Interactive Body Assistance," can help lift patients, including some heavy people, from out of their beds or wheelchairs. Can the average nurse do heavy lifting all day (or night)?

With another human-looking robot-nurse, Actroid-F, that robot's current job is to monitor patients by observing them in hospitals in order to gauge patient reactions. How would you react to a robot nurse? Right now, she's just an observer. What if the robot went awry and kept jabbing you with a needle or giving you too high of a dose of some drug? Would you trust a robot nurse more than a real nurse? And why can't people design robots to combat and fix radiation leaks? Or are they already working on that?

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The earthquake and tsunami damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant located in  Japan
The earthquake and tsunami damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant located in Japan
AnneHart is based in Sacramento, California, United States of America, and is an Anchor for Allvoices.
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