Radiation hardened wireless communication system
This system is designed and manufactured by ELEMENTS, a start-up company located in Toulouse and presently supported by the ESA BIC Sud France. ELEMENTS develops embedded modular systems for nuclear and defence fields based on the space background of its founders already engaged in worldwide cooperation and projects with NASA, ESA and CNSA.
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The product has the following main characteristics:
- Size: 300 x 200 x 100 mm (modular box)
- Weight: less than 2 kg
- Alimentation: 12V dc
- Power consumption: 20W
- Contamination protection: IP42
- Temperature range: -20�C to +60�C
- Communication protocol: Full duplex MIMO ? 802.11 b/g/n
The product is based on COTS technology for a cost efficient approach with radiation hardness above 1000 Gy.
The potential applications are robotics investigation or operation in the nuclear field (decommissioning or accidents such as Fukushima) or in defence.
ELEMENTS know-how is based on the space heritage of the 3 founding partners respectively active in mechanical systems (MECANO ID), electronics systems (EREMS) and radiations expertise and tests (TRAD).
Innovations & Advantages
Currently, operators use remote controlled systems through a physical umbilical cable link (tens of meters). This technology allows a large data flow to be transmitted and retrieval of the device in the event of a failure.
But it has major drawbacks: it only allows for very basic paths into the facilities and collects all contamination deposited on the ground. This contamination accumulates in the winding drum creating a large radioactive source.
Wifi systems are not traditionally used because their radiation resistance is not controlled and this leads to loss of transmission and thus of the link to the system being operated. Interventions on the Fukushima site (loss of many robots exposed to radiation) have clearly demonstrated the immaturity in this area.
Our innovative hardened wifi system, based on practices developed for use in space, communicates its acceptable level and its cumulative radiation levels in real time and advises the operator to cease operations for a return and an electronics change. This function is split into an embedded wifi system and, if necessary, many autonomous relay points (stationary or along the robot?s path).
The robots equipped with this technology can describe complex paths in the facilities, are guarantee to always be controllable and do not pick up the radioactive contamination deposited on the ground.
Synthesis of the technological performance:
- Radiation hardness is from 4 to 10 times more than industrial technology
- System is full contamination free
Synthesis of the operational performance:
- High reliability by proactive management of radiation damage
- Scenario optimization with the specific HMI
Current and Potential Domains of Application
The potential applications are robotics investigation or operation in the nuclear field (decommissioning or accidents such as Fukushima) or in the defence field.