Robot guards being tested in South Korea

April 18, 2012 by Bob Yirka, Phys.org weblog

(Phys.org) -- South Korea, a nation with a self-proclaimed goal of being a leader in robotics technology has, through the Asian Forum of Corrections (AFC), begun testing the feasibility of using robots as prison guards in an actual prison in Pohang. The robots’ duties, at least initially, are to patrol the halls between cells looking for signs of trouble, and if it finds it, alert the human guards who will take appropriate action.

The , called Robo-Guard by many in the press, is equipped with several cameras, one of which is 3D, microphone, speaker and circuitry and software that allow it to roam autonomously in predefined areas within the prison. It also has software that allows it to analyze behavioral characteristics of to help in deciding whether to alert the human guards. Its main purpose, according to the AFC, is to reduce manpower costs in prisons and to make a safer environment for both inmates and those that guard them.

It also appears that the South Korean government, which has paid for the development of the robots, is using its prison population as a test ground for bolstering its in general. After all, most, if not all of what these new robots do could just as easily be done by installing cameras in every hall and cell and connecting them to a computer that does the processing. But, because the testing is done in an environment where test subjects don’t have the option of objecting, research can be carried out that would not be possible in any other environment.

In addition to patrolling the halls, the robots are also able to serve as wireless two-way communications devices, allowing inmates and guards to communicate without the guard having to leave the command center. The human guards can also manually control the actions of the robots using an iPad application.

The current test trial, which employs the use of three robots, is set to run for just one month and to cost a little over three quarters of a million dollars; at the end of which, researchers and politicians presumably will determine if the idea is feasible and whether the program ought to become permanent. If it does, the AFC has said they’d like to get the robots to one day perform body searches, though it’s not likely they would be capable of searching body cavities, instead they would perhaps be able to frisk inmates randomly, which likely would reduce the number of homemade weapons inmates use to harm one another or their guards.

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11 comments

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Deathclock
3 / 5 (6) Apr 18, 2012
Profit driven prison system? Are you an idiot? Tax payers pay for prisons in the US and they are anything but profitable... jesus you are a nutjob.

(there are a TINY handful of private prisons, they are inconsequential compared to the rest of the publicly funded prison system)
jscroft
2.6 / 5 (5) Apr 18, 2012
Yah, Scott. One wonders how you've remained at large. I guess there's an up-side to never leaving your mom's basement.
Green_Dragon
5 / 5 (1) Apr 19, 2012
The downside to this is if they do have a prison break, less manpower available for containment.
Deathclock
3.5 / 5 (6) Apr 19, 2012
The downside to this is if they do have a prison break, less manpower available for containment.


The upside to not having guards around is that is you can handle a prison break the same way you handle emergency containment in an infectious disease lab... incineration using thermobarics
jscroft
2.6 / 5 (5) Apr 19, 2012
Perhaps it is because we socialists are free.


Quote of the year, right there. Holy Cow.

Scott, you moron, kindly explain how having somebody else make all your important decisions for you equates with freedom?

Mmmm, on second thought, just... just don't.

@Deathclock: a thousand times yes.
HTK
1 / 5 (1) Apr 19, 2012
Well if they know the robot will explode, and they can't bartar with robots like terrorists the prisoners will stay put. LOL
ROBTHEGOB
1 / 5 (1) Apr 21, 2012
I, Robot.
phillip_hooper2
1 / 5 (1) Apr 21, 2012
This is stupid, why not put cameras in each cell with a central computer. looks slow and cumbersome, Id rip the dam head right off!
gmurphy
5 / 5 (4) Apr 22, 2012
@deathclock, the American prison system is paid for by American tax payers but the majority of the prison system is run by private corporations, funded by those tax dollars. It is very much a profit driven enterprise.
LariAnn
1 / 5 (1) Apr 24, 2012
That robot is nowhere near intimidating enough - they need a Terminator-style unit with battle-armor alloy and onboard tasers that can activate if the robot is so much as touched by an inmate.
Green_Dragon
not rated yet Apr 25, 2012
The downside to this is if they do have a prison break, less manpower available for containment.


The upside to not having guards around is that is you can handle a prison break the same way you handle emergency containment in an infectious disease lab... incineration using thermobarics

Ahh very true haha! Hopefully means its less likely they'll have hostages from downed guards too.

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