Making RAD Maps With Robot Dogs

Home / Articles / External Government

Source: Berkeley Lab,
Source: Berkeley Lab,

October 28, 2023 | Originally published by Berkeley Lab on October 11, 2023

In 2013, researchers carried a Microsoft Kinect camera through houses in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture. The device’s infrared light traced the contours of the buildings, making a rough 3D map. On top of this, the team layered information from an early version of a hand-held gamma-ray imager, displaying the otherwise invisible nuclear radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident.

This month, scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) are teaching a robotic dog to intelligently hunt out radiological material using a self-contained suite of sensors on its back. It’s fair to say radiation mapping has come a long way.

“It can take a long time to see improvement in radiological technology like gamma-ray detectors, so we’re defining the state-of-the-art by leveraging other sensor types,” said Ren Cooper, Deputy Head of Berkeley Lab’s Applied Nuclear Physics (ANP) program. “It’s not just nuclear physics – it’s robotics, computer vision, software, and other elements coming together that enable societal benefits.”

Want to find out more about this topic?

Request a FREE Technical Inquiry!