If the idea of your boss attending boardroom meetings via an iPad on wheels puts you on edge, what will you make of "PatrolBot"? Meet a real-life Robocop, kind of.
Rather than annihilate criminals everywhere with extreme prejudice, the initiative aims to allow rozzers injured in the line of duty to keep their beat. Users would operate PatrolBot remotely, Avatar-style, based on feeds from its various sensors and cameras. The robot also provides some sort of haptic feedback to enable the remote coppers to get a sense of really being on patrol again. Not exactly a cyborg, but close enough.
The desired outcome is a robot capable of surveillance in densely populated areas and danger zones such as nuclear facilities. Jeremry Robbins, a former lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves and project leader of PatrolBot explains it like this:
"With telebots, a disabled police officer will be capable of performing many, if not most, of the functions of a normal patrol office – interacting with the community, patrolling, responding to emergency calls, issuing citations. Telerobotics has already begun to make its way into the worlds of medicine, business and the military. Extending it into law enforcement is simply the natural progression of things."
Robbins has invested over £12,000 of his own cash into PatrolBot, and secured a grant, which has given the team access to two military-grade DARPA robots to aid development. Real-life Robocop, here we come. I wonder if they'll be able set up a tie-in with the upcoming Robocop reboot that looks more like Batman in a Tron-suit? [FIU News via Gizmag]