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Nuclear Warheads? This Robot Can Find Them


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PPPL's neutron-detector robot and team members

PPPL's neutron-detector robot with developers and team members (from left) Susan Thiel, Alex Glaser, Darren Thompson, Princeton University graduate student Soha Aslam, Robert Hitchner, and Rob Goldston.

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and Princeton University have developed autonomous, rolling robots equipped with smart detectors that can identify the source of nuclear radiation and whether it has been shielded to avoid detection. The "inspector bots" consist of a cylinder of polyethylene plastic containing three neutron counters set 120 degrees apart and mounted on a robot with specialized wheels that enable it to move in any direction.

The detectors provide both high sensitivity to the energy of detected neutrons and the direction from which neutrons are coming.

Going forward, the researchers want to develop machine learning software that can guide the robots, and technology to enable them to communicate with one another during inspections.

From Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


 

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