In the highly radioactive crucible of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, there are some areas too hot and hazardous for humans to venture for cleanup.
So a Honda robot is giving a helping hand -- a telescoping surveying arm that will see what's going on inside the dark, dangerous hulk of the ruined reactor building.
Honda last week unveiled the remote-controlled robot, which it created with Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. It was scheduled to begin work last week.
Honda engineered the robotic arm, which is about 6 feet high and 6 feet long and weighs 1.2 tons.
The institute developed the crawler tread and platform on which it rides. The arm incorporates sensing technologies Honda developed for its pint-sized humanoid Asimo robot, including three-dimensional imaging of the surrounding areas and control systems that allow the arm to absorb impact when it collides with obstacles in the dark.
It looks like a bit like the minibot in the animated Disney movie Wall-E.
It's a compact box on tank treads, brandishing an extendable arm tipped with a camera lens.
The Fukushima plant was slammed by a tsunami spawned by Japan's March 2011 earthquake and has been leaking radiation ever since.