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Handling contaminated waste safely

​List, a CEA Tech institute, recently developed a new robotic system to remotely handle waste for the nuclear industry. The research was conducted as part of the EU RoMaNS project.

Published on 5 July 2017

​Nuclear plants represent one of the EU's largest environmental cleanup projects. The H2020 RoMaNS project set out to develop a remote operation system to safely sort and separate contaminated waste. The demonstrator system built drew heavily on robotics technologies developed at List, a project partner, including master-slave force-feedback systems in which a slave robot operates in the contaminated environment "mimicking" the movements made by a master robot controlled by an operator.

On the master side, the system is made up of a force-feedback glove mounted on a haptic feedback arm developed and sold by Haption, a List spinoff. The compact, lightweight glove allows precise handling of objects in the environment. The slave robot is made up of a gripping system with a structure similar to a human hand mounted on a six-axis robotic arm, "to provide the most natural and intuitive handling experience possible," said one researcher. To achieve the level of dexterity required, the intuitive control of the coupling between the master and slave components will now have to be finalized.

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