According to a report by a Japanese news agency, a radiation monitoring robot, aptly named Monirobo, is the first non-human responder to go on-site following the partial meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The machine, which was developed by Japan's Nuclear Safety Technology Centre to operate at lethal radiation levels, reportedly began work Friday, enlisting a 3D camera, radiation detector
, and heat and humidity sensors to monitor the extent of the damage. A second Monirobo, used to collect samples and detect flammable gases, is expected to join its red counterpart soon -- both robots are operated by remote control from distances up to one kilometer away. They join the US Air Force's Global Hawk
drone in unmanned surveillance of the crisis.