National / Science & Health

Disaster relief tech: Hand-shaped robot and cybersuit for rescue dogs tested in Fukushima


A recent disaster-response demonstration in Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, featured tests of a hand-shaped, fire-resistant robot that can remove rubble as well as a cybersuit for rescue dogs.

The Friday event was hosted by the Cabinet Office and others.

The hand-shaped robot, developed by Tohoku University, has fingers consisting of small ball-like parts, operated through wires running through its length. The robot, which features enhanced fire resistance, is expected to be useful in the event of a plant fire, according to the university.

At the test event Friday, the robot removed gas cylinders and rubble from a fire.

The cybersuit, developed by the university and others, is equipped with a camera and a GPS device. During the test, a rescue dog searched for missing people while wearing the suit, which uses three-dimensional geographical data.

“Disaster-relief robots were used in search operations at collapsed houses after torrential rains in western Japan earlier this year,” said Satoshi Tadokoro, a professor at the university. “I want to proceed with robot development in order to contribute to society.”