Parts of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have joined the surface of Mars and the blast radius of an IED as environments so harsh that they can be braved only by robots. On Sunday TEPCO, the Japanese utility responsible for Fukushima, sent a pair of iRobot packbots into parts of the plant that have not been seen since the facility was evacuated in the wake of a strike by a tsunami. Packbots are best known for having been deployed with the U.S. Army throughout Iraq and Afghanistan.
Interior rooms of reactors 1 and 3, which the robots entered with video cameras and sensors for radiation, temperature and humidity, proved to be intact despite the explosions of hydrogen gas at both. Elsewhere in the complex, a remote-controlled excavator, transporter and helicopter have been put to use in order to explore areas too contaminated with radiation for humans.
These weird virtual creatures evolve their bodies to solve problems
They show how intelligence and body plans are closely linked—and could unlock AI for robots.
Surgeons have successfully tested a pig’s kidney in a human patient
The test, in a brain-dead patient, was very short but represents a milestone in the long quest to use animal organs in human transplants.
A horrifying new AI app swaps women into porn videos with a click
Deepfake researchers have long feared the day this would arrive.
The covid tech that is intimately tied to China’s surveillance state
Heat-sensing cameras and face recognition systems may help fight covid-19—but they also make us complicit in the high-tech oppression of Uyghurs.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.