The massive earthquake, and resulting tsunami, that struck Japan in March is still fresh in the minds of those who populate the island nation, and the after-effects will be felt for months and months to come. But one of the most beautiful things about technology is how it enables one to lend a hand to another. Maybe it's a comforting e-mail. Maybe it's bailing someone out by phoning in an answer. Or maybe it's the re-purposing of a robot to help with the clean-up efforts in Japan.
The U.S. Department of Energy has been working around the clock to modify a TALON robot, a remotely-controlled device that will now be used to inspect reactors and provide analytical data to officials. The modified TALON robot from the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory (INL) touched down in Japan this past weekend, where it's being used to help with high-risk reconnaissance and the disposal of explosives and hazardous materials. The 'bot was originally developed by QinetiQ for use in defense scenarios, but now those rugged treads will be helping with an even greater cause. Check out the video for an idea of what it'll be doing, and take heart in knowing that robots are working right now to help those in need. Definitely a feel-good kind of story.