The ‘future of law enforcement’ is making a comeback this week, with the release of the remake of Robocop, but in the real world, we’re not so far away from putting this kind of concept into actual practice.
Researchers and undergraduates working with Florida International University’s Discovery Lab have unveiled a new robot, called Telebot, that may soon allow disabled police officers and military veterans to resume their work. This won’t be about building them up into cyborgs, though. Instead, Telebot is a telepresence robot, similar to what we’ve already seen used in offices, but with the addition of the virtual reality technology Oculus Rift, and something other telepresence devices don’t have … arms and hands.
There’s some noticeable lag between the controls and the robot at the moment, and the structure of the Telebot is a little rough, but this is just the prototype. When the project is completed, any wounded or disabled cop or soldier could be equipped with virtual reality goggles and sensors on their arms and hands, and be once again able to go out on patrol.
This is pretty cool. It’s not exactly Robocop, but it’s close as we’re likely to get right now without diving into some pretty big ethics debates. The only thing that Telebot really needs, after being fine-tuned and upgraded, is to ensure that it’s able to put on an intimidating enough look to actually impress any criminals or enemy combatants that it encounters while on duty.
*Also see http://discoverylab.cis.fiu.edu/index.php?document_srl=57959
Learn more here http://news.fiu.edu/2012/09/fiu-discovery-lab-telebots-could-help-disabled-officers-veterans/42804