The European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) has unveiled their new best friend: a robot called the CERNquadbot. The four-legged robot, a new type of robot for CERN, is reported to have successfully completed its first radiation protection test — and it passed with flying, radioactive colors.
“There are large bundles of loose wires and pipes on the ground that slip and move, making them unpassable for wheeled robots and difficult even for humans,” Chris McGreavy, a robotics engineer in CERN’s Controls, Electronics and Mechatronics (CEM) group, said in a statement. We conducted a proof-of-concept survey with the Radiation Protection group in this area. There were no issues at all: the robot was completely stable throughout the inspection.”
Getting to know CERNquadbot
This steel-clad pup helps fulfill a very specific niche for CERN. Until recently, CERN’s various robots, like the CERNbotSPS, Train Inspection Monorail, and CRANEbot, all could carry heavy loads like robotic arms. But while they could carry these arms and other tools, none of these robots could enter cluttered or otherwise obstructed areas. Even if they could move inside these areas, it was very limited.
“The TIMs are used for monitoring the large distances of the LHC from above and can travel long distances without recharging. They can deploy the quadbots in local areas to get more information about specific places that the TIM cannot easily access,” McGreavy added.
The Black Mirror connection
But what does all this have to do with Black Mirror? The CERNquadbot looks eerily similar to the robotic dogs at the center of “ Metalhead,” a season 4 episode of Charlie Brooker’s anthology series Black Mirror. In “Metalhead,” people are forced to fight for their lives after the robots turn murderous.
But before you start running, you should bear this in mind: at it stands, CERN has nothing to do with post-apocalyptic, murderous robo-dogs. At least not yet, anyway.