It’s going to be a long time before Japan is really back on its feet. We already know about Nao and FirstLook seeing what they can do, but it’s time to toss in some QinetiQ robots to help too.
Global defense technology company QinetiQ is providing “unmanned vehicle equipment and training to aid in the colossal undertaking” of helping Japan recover from the monumental earthquake and tsunami. The Robotic Applique Kit from QinetiQ, for example, can convert a standard Bobcat loader into an unmanned vehicle in 15 minutes. This makes it much safer for rescue workers.
Perhaps even more interesting are the Talon and Dragon Runner robots that could be making their way over to Japan. The Talon can be equipped with detection kits (which will certainly come in handy in light of all the nuclear concerns right now), as well as night vision and 1km sound detection. The compact Dragon Runner, on the other hand, can get into tight spaces where human rescue workers might not be able to go.
I’m not taking anything away from the rescue and recovery efforts in Japan, but we also have to remember to maintain this kind of effort over the long haul. How quickly have people forgotten about Chile, Haiti, and even New Orleans.