Tuesday, 02 Oct, 2012 Technology

Latest Invention: Researchers to Turn Telepresence Robots into Robocops


Telepresence robots are already hitting the markets, with companies and health institutions looking forward to using them for communication purposes.

However, Jeremy Robbins, a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves, thought that such machines could be used by police forces to help fight crime.

Together with researchers at Florida International University (FIU) he decided to build telerobotics systems that would allow disabled law enforcement officers return to their duties.

His idea is to use telerobotics as an instrument of keeping numerous disabled police officers who served in Afghanistan on the job.

Robbins has provided US$20,000 to scientists at FIU's Discovery Lab. He also secured the loan of 2 custom-made robots estimated at around $50,000 from the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC).

It is worth mentioning that the two robots on loan were initially created for a $2 million DARPA project known as the Urban Warrior Robot (UWP) program. The project managed Jerry Pratt and the IHMC team are currently working with FIU's Discovery Lab on an initiative that aims at repurposing the two military-grade machines for crime-tackling duties.

First sketches of the prototype called "PatrolBot" have already been portrayed and several FIU teams composed of students are working on adapting the robots to law enforcement uses like mobility, communications, video and interface capabilities.

The idea is to create telebots able to patrol in high-density public areas and carrying out surveillance in sensitive regions such as ports and nuclear facilities.

[via FIU, IHMC]

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