Safety measures within a nuclear accident requires special equipment to handle radioactive materials and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) MEISTeR could be used as a tool to work with radioactive materials in radioactive areas. The two arms of the robot are flexible and could be controlled to work on maintenance of pipes or other objects that may be taken by the robot grippers, or for inspection when radiation is at a high level.
The two arms of the MEISTeR humanoid telecontrol robot could be used for various tasks for its ability to be equipped with various tools as needed. For example the robot could be controlled to remove obstacles in case of nuclear accident or could be used to collect sample of materials in areas where human presence is not safe.
Each arm could lift a weight up to 15kg (33 pounds), weight does not include the tool used. Only one arm has seven degrees of freedom apiece and could be used as a cutting saws, jack hammers, and drills. Is flexible and could be used almost as a human hand. Walls absorb radiation and is an essential point to measure the radiation. To use the same robot for wall sample the company design a special tool which can digging into wall up to 70 mm (approximately 2.5 inches).
Since the terrain is not always flat the robot is equipped with four tank caterpillars which is moved and can be controlled independently. The speed is around 2 km/h (1.24 mph) and can climb stairs with a maximum level of 22 cm (8.5 inches).
Specifications include a height of 130 cm with 70 wide and and a length of 125 cm. The weight is 440 kg (970 pounds) and is not too easy to be transported. It could be operated for 2 working hours.
The idea for this robot is not new and is the result of collaboration between MHI (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries) and Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute who wants to improve working conditions in nuclear power plants. MEISTeR is based on an old robot developed by MHI since 1999 after an accident in a nuclear power plant. The first robot developed was called Rabot and like MEISTeR has two arms. Second robot was called MARS-D and from this it was borrowed the mobile base. Using the experience so far, MHI develop this new intelligent humanoid robot with new and improved maneuverability and also with systems to prevent the robot parts contamination.
For the first time the robot will be used at TEPCO plant and will be always under observation to develop new and improved technologies.