Thursday, December 19, 2013

Knightscope Introduces Robotic Security Guard


On December 5, 2013, Silicon Valley robotics startup Knightscope unveiled its K5 Autonomous Data Machine prototype. We'll just call it the Knightscope, for short. It's a security guard robot that they hope will cut crime by 50%, an ambitious goal for a machine that can't speak or summit a curb. It has so far invited a lot of comparisons to R2-D2. Personally, I think it looks kind of like a Slap Chop.looks like a Slap Chop looks like a Knightscope robot

The story goes that, after Sandy Hook, Knightscope's developers came to the conclusion that there would never be armed security in every American school, and that something else had to be done to prevent future tragedies. I'm sure that it also didn't hurt that the project is projected to make over a billion dollars, easily. It will be rented out to malls, corporate campuses, and other facilities that would otherwise require security personnel. With a fee of $1000 for a month's worth of 8-hour shifts, the Knightscope works for way less than minimum wage. As it patrols, the Knightscope records its surroundings with various high-tech cameras and sensors, pumping terabyte after terabyte of raw data to local servers or onto the cloud. An analytic system parses the data to generate maps of crime hot spots, then passes alerts on to the authorities and the local community. Able to "see, feel, hear and smell," it is likely to stir up controversy over privacy concerns and mass surveillance. Obviously, it's not meant to spy on people, but that doesn't mean it couldn't be used that way. Here's the rundown of a few of its features and limitations.

Things the Knightscope can do:

  • Create a 3D map of its surroundings using a lidar (it's like a radar, but uses lasers)
  • Geolocate with GPS
  • See in the dark or other adverse conditions using night vision and thermal imaging
  • Monitor and record sound with to detect ambient abnormalities, like screaming
  • Go an entire shift on a single battery charge
In the future, they plan on making it able to detect radiation, chemical and biological weapons, and airborne pathogens.

Things the Knightscope can't do:

  • Stop an attack or break up a fight
  • Make an arrest
  • Give someone directions to the bathroom
  • Stairs
What do you think, is this the best answer to America's security woes? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

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