How to build a clockwork robot?

To enter the Fukashima U2 with radiation at 1000 SVR plus can a clockwork autonomous robot gathering data with sonar be designed to go where no autonomous robot has gone before.

The reason is all electronic devices would cease to function at about half that  SVR level.

The clockwork mechanism would need to be designed to provide autonomous movement  so all sensors would have to be non electronic devices. Might mechanical sound, pressure, temperature or other forces be used for controls?

Is it possible to provide a mechanical power storage source
Thermal Chemical What sort of time/energy is achievable?

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RowlandW29 months ago

iceng9 months ago

Training Cockroaches to carry neutralizing materials is a better stratagy.

Downunder35m9 months ago

Shielding electronics against strong radiation is not really that hard, just really expensive and at time very complicated.
Shielding against such high levels however is next to impossible due to the limitations of weight, cost and size.
After all a "robot" of 40x40x40cm with a shielding of more than a meter would need a trailer for the power supply...
Doing anythign just mechanical would be useless IMHO as the chance of losing the machine is so high that you would need a fleet of throw away robots...

iceng9 months ago

Babbage designed a had cranked machine that could calculate logarithms in 1822

Babbage estimated it would weigh about a ton, later 1855 when it was constructed it weighed slightly over 800 lbs...


I went to the show at the Science Museum when it was actually built and working, in around 1991. Nathan Myhrvold, the Microsoft architect of Excel amongst other things, paid for the printer to be built to Babbage's original design.

There is currently a new project under development called

, where they aim to build the far, far more complex analytical engine - the "real" computer. They are rather stuck at the moment because Babbage's design was never stable, and he was constantly improving the drawings. Hence it never got built.

Jack A Lopez9 months ago

Are you using "SVR" as abbreviation for Sieverts per hour? That's a guess. I mean, it would take almost as much time to type, "Sv/hr", and that would be a lot less confusing.

In response to the actual question here, it is kind of a tall order, bordering on impossible, at the time of this writing, to build a robot that is purely mechanical and autonomous.

The reason why, is because autonomy requires something capable of running a program, things like a processor, and memory, and the mechanical versions of these tend to be enormous.

A truly autonomous machine requires energy storage too, as you've pointed out.

However I think the constraint that is truly going to ruin this idea, is when you discover the weight and volume of the mechanical processor and memory make your "robot" into a room-sized contraption, no longer capable of crawling through man-sized holes, or whatever you wanted it do in the first place.

So I think autonomy is out, and you're back to where you were before, with a machine that is controlled, and powered, remotely, over a really long umbilical cord.


rickharris9 months ago

Not going to happen.