ASIMO is the humanoid robot created by Honda that looks like a diminutive moonman who loves to slowly climb stairs. The four-foot three-inch robot is capable of a lot more than ascending stairways faster than the elderly, however, and rumors were swirling that ASIMO might be outfitted to handle nuclear cleanup duty.
Japan is still recovering from the devastating earthquake that struck on March 11th of this year. One of the most critical areas to receive damage was the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which was rated a seven on the International Nuclear Event Scale. Seven is the highest rating.
The reactor pools have since been cooled, but the nuclear contamination still needs to be cleaned up, and a Japanese press report stated that Honda was prepping ASIMO for the task. The rumor stated that tank treads would be replace its legs, and more sensitive hands and arms would be utilized so that ASIMO could interact with nuts and bolts. It all sounds quite interesting, but none of it is true according to Honda.
The automaker has stated that, although it's technical research and development team is looking at various uses for robots to help with disasters, it's not ready to convert ASIMO into a nuclear contamination cleaning machine.