The Puerto Rican island of Vieques was bombed daily
by the US Navy for
60 years to test all manner of live bombs and ordinance despite protests
islands tiny population. The coral reefs around the island have been
reduced to shrapnel-filled craters and the waters is littered with
unexploded bombs, depleted uranium projectiles, and barrels of
toxic waste. Fish carry dangerously high levels of toxins and the cancer
rate on the island has risen over 25%. University of Georgia
Porter began working with the residents in
1999 to survey
the damage and restore the
ecosystem after their Declaration of
Ultimatum to the Navy finally stopped the bombing. As part
clean up process a huge
robot arm is being employed to lift unexploded
bombs out of the water for disposal. The robot can lift up to 225kg.
Porter says similar robots could assist with ordinance clean up in
coastal waters around the world. The only hold up is that money promised
by the EPA to fund the robotic clean up of the Navy's mess has yet to
arrive. See the Vieques
gallery for photos of the island and related events.
I'm assuming, dear Ponty, that you're questioning the inclusion of a
teleoperated thing in robotics? It's all a matter of definitions.
(Which, are a waste of time according to some).
"Robot Wars" really sparked a lot of arguments about radio-controlled
things "not being robots," but this kind of ignores history, as well as
the way that language works. You can't make a word mean what you want
it to mean all on your own. If everyone in the world thinks a robot can
be teleoperated, then teleoperated robots are robots. Anyway, it's not
a new use of the word at all. Traffic light signs were originally
called "robot traffic signals" and I think they still are in South
Africa. The British Army have used "bomb disposal robots" for a very
long time, and they're not even radio-controlled - there's a big wire!
Of course, you might reasonably say that this website, despite its name,
should only be concerned with autonomous robots. That despite the
common definition, there's a jargon usage. However true that might be,
the only real definition that counts I reckon is use, and in this case
that would be is anyone interested in the story...