According to IEEE Spectrum, the robots are being used to hunt through rubble in areas that are inaccessible or dangerous for humans.
Two types of robots are being employed. The "Active Scope Camera" is a long, skinny snake-like camera which will wiggle into hard-to-reach places. "Quince", a larger robot with wheels, will climb atop the rubble. Both machines will be tasked with looking for survivors.
Quince is a mobile robot equipped with four sets of tracked wheels, some of which can move up and down to allow the robot to negotiate obstacles. It carries cameras as well as infrared and carbon-dioxide sensors for detecting the presence of survivors trapped under rubble.
For more information on the disaster in Japan and how you can help, visit our How To Help page.
The internet's best stories, and interviews with the people who tell them. Learn more