A Real-Life RoboCop?
In the classic 1987 sci-fi movie RoboCop, we watched this unimaginable part-man, part-robot take on and defeat crime and corruption in a futuristic Detroit.
Today, many companies are working feverishly to invent a true “robot guard” - a real-life apparatus designed to perform the basic functions of a security officer, and much more.
Just how close are we to seeing these robot guards patrolling
our warehouses, factories, malls and other places of business? According to
a Japanese firm, this goal of developing a “robotic security agent”
may just be on the horizon.
An elaborate experiment, utilizing the Robo-Guard, was recently completed. According to company reports, this robotic security agent was able to reach a specific floor using an elevator. Once it reaches the designated floor, the robot patrolled the floor automatically, and remarkably, the Robo-Guard was able to demonstrate the automated exchange of its own battery. This ability, to exchange its own power source, would permit the Robo-Guard to operate virtually 24/7 without any significant downtime for battery recharge.
One of the key safety functions of a human security officer is to detect and respond to fires. Well, guess what: Robo-Guard, in this experiment, detected a fire from a cigarette lighter, and with its operator’s assistance, was able to use a fire extinguisher.
Next, Robo-Guard moved to the elevator, and using its robotic eye, was able to engage the control panel to have the elevator stop at the correct floor to pick it up. And, once inside the elevator, the robotic security agent was able to press the proper button to continue its patrol at the next location.
What makes this all even more noteworthy is that this is simply a prototype robot. The designers have stated that their goal is to make Robo-Guard even smaller, more reliable, durable and faster.
For more details on Robo-Guard, go to www.tmsuk.co.jp.
For those of you interested in robotic home security, don’t worry. In a news release, Sanyo, in conjunction with Tmsuk, announced that their “new and improved” Banryu home robot.
Banryu, which means “Guard-Dragon,” takes on a look of an ancient reptile, but with a futuristic twist. In addition to being designed to travel in the confined, cluttered spaces of a home, this unique robot as a new “odor-sensor” which will enable Banryu to detect “burnt scent” which is known to occur in the air preceding a fire.
Also, in addition to its odor sensor, Banryu will be equipped with an infra-red sensor, a sonic sensor and a temperature sensor. It will also feature three modes of operation - super-remote control mode; Guard-Dragon mode; and even a pet mode.
For more details on Banryu, log on to www.sanyo.co.jp.
A Final Thought: Just a scant 17 years after the fantasy of RoboCop thrilled movie audiences, the reality of robotic security for our businesses and homes looms closer and closer. Conceivably, just as common as smoke detectors are today, robot guards, in the new few years, will become a ubiquitous part of our daily lives.
What’s next for robotic security?
This extraordinary technology can perhaps be appropriately and responsibly harnessed to enhance security and safety at our military bases, seaports, airports, borders, prisons, critical infrastructure, security checkpoints, and more.
It is not beyond the realm of reasonable possibility that police officers of the future, for instance, will be issued a robotic partner, a sort of real-life RoboCop, to help locate missing children and endangered adults, recognize contraband, interpret diverse languages, catalog DNA, fingerprints and biometric samples, detect explosives, biohazards and other weapons of mass destruction, track bloodthirsty felons, and adroitly enter perilous situations without risk to their human counterparts.
Robotic technology, and its unparalleled applications, will only be bound by our vigorous imagination and hearty daring.