Real-life RoboCop coming soon?

Disabled police officers or veterans could wire in and control mechanical limbs

By PoliceOne Staff

A real-life 'RoboCop' similar to the man-machine hybrid depicted in the film of the same name is under development by researchers and may soon be ready for patrol.

Jeremy Robbins, a lieutenant commander in the US Navy Reserves, created PatrolBot in conjunction with the Discovery Lab at Florida University International to help injured police officers or soldiers who wire into, and control, a device with mechanical limbs.

With video, audio and sensory capabilities, the prototype resembles a robot on wheels that wears silver armor, though its exact appearance is still being determined by designers. Ironically, says Robbins, one of the challenges related to its appearance is the need to balance some degree of intimidation with approachability.

"The big design hurdle we face is, strangely enough, the exact same hurdle police officers face with the public every day," Robbins said.

Medicine, business and the United States military already use remote-controlled robots, according to CNET. The lab believes law enforcement is a natural next step.

"With telebots, a disabled police officer will be capable of performing many, if not most, of the functions of a normal patrol officer – interacting with the community, patrolling, responding to   emergency calls, issuing citations," Robbins said.

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