Robot guards to patrol South Korean prisons

Nov 24, 2011

Robot guards with sensors to detect abnormal behaviour will soon begin patrolling South Korean prisons to ease the burden on their human counterparts, researchers said Thursday.

A group of scientists has developed the warders under a one billion won ($850,000) project organised by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.

The robots -- 1.5 metres (five feet) high and running on four wheels -- will mostly be used at night.

They can connect prisoners with officers through a remote conversation function, according to a statement from the Asian Forum for Corrections (AFC), a South Korea-based group of researchers in and prison policies.

It pioneered the project with the justice ministry's cooperation.

The robots' sensors will enable them to detect abnormalities such as and violence and report it to officers in charge, the statement said.

Professor Lee Baik-Chul of Kyonggi University, who led the design process and heads the AFC, said it was intended to let human guards focus more on correction and rehabilitation efforts.

"As we're almost done with creating its key operating system, we are now working on refining its details to make it look more friendly to inmates," Lee was quoted by Yonhap news agency as saying.

Three robots will be tested at a correctional facility in the southeastern city of Pohang next March when development is completed.

aims to be a world leader in robotics. It has already designed models to teach English in schools, stand guard on the border with , fight taekwondo bouts, act in plays and clean a home.

Explore further: New algorithm enables MIT cheetah robot to run and jump, untethered, across grass

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antialias_physorg
not rated yet Nov 24, 2011
The robots' sensors will enable them to detect abnormalities such as suicidal behaviour

Woha. What kind of algorithm can do that?
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (3) Nov 24, 2011
With more than 2 million of it's citizens in prison, America's for profit prison system will benefit immensely from this technology as it will allow fewer guards and hence lower operating costs.

It might reduce the need to increase profits by imprisoning another million or so Americans.
gmurphy
5 / 5 (3) Nov 24, 2011
@antialias_physorg, advancing towards a heavily armed robotic gun platform can be reasonably construed as being suicidal behaviour.
Bloodhawk
not rated yet Nov 28, 2011
This is really a leap for robotics! I am inspired with robots and am amazed with them. Whoever created these robots is truly a genius! It is like creating life without biological factors harnessed to the automatons. Next up we will probably have flying gun drones self controlled. This is truly amazing!
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Nov 28, 2011
@antialias_physorg, advancing towards a heavily armed robotic gun platform can be reasonably construed as being suicidal behaviour.

Pretty certain that these robots will not be armed. Otherwise we'll soon have our first "ED-209" incident.
CHollman82
1 / 5 (1) Nov 30, 2011
The robots' sensors will enable them to detect abnormalities such as suicidal behaviour

Woha. What kind of algorithm can do that?


I'll maintain skepticism until I see the results... not to be stereotypical but Asians have a history of making grandiose claims about robotics and then falling well short of those claims.

I would like to know what kind of sensors they are using though, they would have to see in the dark so probably infrared, but I wonder if they do voice recognition or 3D environment mapping or what else.

Also, just because the thing can "see" doesn't mean it will correctly perceive, I bet a guy jerking it would be interpreted as suicidal behavior (assuming it was a shiv in his hand...), or consensual sex as violent behavior... for example.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Nov 30, 2011

I'll maintain skepticism until I see the results...

Yes. I was being sarcastic about that algorithm. We're currently nowhere near such capability (even Asians aren't)

I think what they were getting at is having these robots patrol and the video-feed being monitored by some guards in a central location who would then decide whether what they see is suicidal behavior or somesuch.

I would like to know what kind of sensors they are using though, they would have to see in the dark so probably infrared,

Or image amps. I once bought an image amp rig from a russian guy who sold off his old army stuff. Incredible what you can see - even in conditions that seem like pitch black darkness to the naked eye.
Nerdyguy
not rated yet Nov 30, 2011
http://theweek.co...n-guards

A much better article at this link, which addresses the guns and such (none). Also includes a picture. It also says they've already been tested on the N. Korean border.