YOKOHAMA, Japan Nov 21 A Japanese robot
designed to withstand high levels of radiation and extreme heat
at damaged nuclear plants such as Fukushima froze on Wednesday
on its first public demonstration.
Despite being home to the largest number of industrial
robots in the world, Japan did not have a device capable of
entering the damaged Fukushima nuclear facility after last
year's devastating earthquake and tsunami.
Instead, Japan brought in U.S. robots to survey the extent
of the damage inside the reactor buildings.
Toshiba Corp unveiled Japan's own nuclear-proof
robot on Wednesday, a four-legged device able to carry up to 20
kg of equipment and capable of lifting itself up if it falls
over on uneven surfaces and amid debris.
During the demonstration, the robot experienced a case of
stage fright. The shuffling Tetrapod locked up and suddenly
froze after it tried to balance itself, forcing technicians to
carry it away.
It is the second time such Japanese robotic technology has
experienced problems. Last October, a crawling robot developed
by the Chiba Institute of Technology lost connection with
operators and was abandoned inside Fukushima's No. 2 reactor