Part of the morning was spent in the Japan area talking to the exhibitors. Many of them had information on their robotics and waste treatment work being carried out at Fukushima and it was useful to visit and catch up on anything new we hadn't already seen for the databases. There was one new company we hadn't seen before (Technol) that had some nifty characterisation equipment for radiometrics. They are looking for a US distributor if your are interested.
Session 51 in the morning had a range of presentation on robotics and remote systems focussing on the next generation. Jared Wormley gave a very good talk on high dexterity robotics for emergency responses. He works at John Hopkins APL and explained the work going on with prosthetics; how they are designed and are meant to operate. He then discussed the application of adding these limbs to platforms called Robo Sally. The videos were informative (you can see them in the robotics database). He then moved onto potential applications in D&D and some of the issues found so far such as the difficulty of the arms and hands using power tools. It turns out it is quite difficult.
In the afternoon, there was a long session on the international perspectives for nuclearised robots. There was a very strong panel of experts from several countries. Rod Rimando (DOE) was the lead organiser and some of the panellists included Robert Ambrose (NASA), Harris Edge (US Army), Shinji Kawatsuma (JAEA), Rob Buckingham (UKAEA) and Phil Heermann (Sandia). They, plus others, gave shortish presentations followed by Q&A's. The first takeaway was that robotics were seen not as a replacement for humans but to augment their work - longer, smarter, faster, heavier - and to make it easier to work in hazardous environment without injury. The second takeaway was that getting the workers and organisation involved early with potential robotics was essential. This included getting feedback from workers on safety, operability, training and maintenance. Contamination control with commercial robots is poor (this just isn't taken into account and a lot of work is often required if the robot is to be reused). Organisational paradigms such as security and work instructions often need work as the current procedures often just a No to many things. And finally, using the right robot for the task in hand. This was mentioned often by different speakers so it was good feedback from all these experts since that is what the Idea Catalog was designed to do.
The DIT hosted an afternoon tea on the Atkins stand which was very pleasant even if the US version of scones and sandwiches got a little lost!
Aecom hosted drinks and food at the Hyatt early evening before a group of us went off to "Merrick at the Manor". Arguably the best event of the week it is a little out of town but thanks to our designated driver (thanks Paul!) it was easy. They had a live band, decent food and drinks held in the gardens of a small hotel. Thanks to the sponsors Merrick & Company!