Robotics experts at the Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory just taught an old war machine some new tricks, namely radiation detection -- a timely acquisition of knowledge, for sure. Swapping out rocket launchers and machine guns for a suite of radiological sensors, digital cameras, and a GPS device, this modified TALON will be used to map the radiation levels (and create a visual output) surrounding the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The newly modified TALON landed in Japan just last week, joining an existing team of robot helpers already in use in the disaster area, including two additional TALONs equipped with sensors that can identify more than 7500 environmental hazards. Guns for Geiger counters seems like a good trade to us; check the video up top to watch the 'bot try out its treads.

[Thanks, John]