Two arm robot16 April 2013
A prototype of a two-arm robot has been developed to enter areas that are too radioactive for humans.
The Maintenance Equipment Integrated System of Telecontrol Robot (MEISTeR)'s arms can perform free movements similar to those of human arms using a seven-axis control system, and various tools can be attached to the arm ends according to the work required. By attaching different tools to each arm, the robot can undertake two different tasks simultaneously: for example, grasp an object with one arm while performing another task, such as cutting, with the other. Each arm can carry objects weighing up to 15kg.
MEISTeR was developed based on the RaBOT (Radiation-proof Robot) delivered by MHI to the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute at that time) as one of several nuclear hazard response robots developed in the wake of the criticality accident at the nuclear fuel processing facility in Tokai-mura, Ibaraki, in 1999. MHI incorporated further improvements into the MARS-D, the RaBOT's sister robot, leveraging technology cultivated in the development of inspection and information gathering robots for the nuclear power facility. The MEISTeR provides enhanced radiation protection, including anti-contamination measures, as well as improved remote control capability.
MHI has already developed drills, clamps and other dedicated tools for specimen sampling. The company has also verified the robot's ability to collect core samples 70mm in length from concrete walls or floors to examine their contamination level. In measurement or decontamination work at radiation-contaminated sites, robot operators can control the robot from a remote safe location, monitoring and confirming the robot's movements through the images taken and transmitted from multiple on board cameras.