The PackBot, first used in response to 9/11, helps explore an overheating nuclear plant in Japan this year.
How 9/11 Inspired A New Era Of Robotics -- CNN
When Robin Murphy saw the World Trade Center towers fall on September 11, she knew of an unexpected group that could help respond: robots.
Robots had never been tried in such real-world disasters, but they had gotten much smaller and more nimble in the years before that tragic event. So Murphy, a professor of computer science at Texas A&M University, and a small group of her fellow roboticists decided it was time. The robots were ready.
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