Maine company unveils high-tech SWAT team robot

'SWAT robots' soon to protect US first responders
A SWAT robot, a remote-controlled small tank-like vehicle with a shield for officers, is demonstrated for the media in Sanford, Maine on Thursday, April 18, 2013. Howe & Howe Technologies, a Waterboro, Maine company, says their device keeps SWAT teams and other first responders safe in standoffs and while confronting armed suspects. Police now typically use hand-held shields when storming a building. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

A Maine company that's developed manned and unmanned tanks with names like "Ripsaw" and "Riptide" for the military and Hollywood filmmakers has unveiled a new contraption—a high-tech police shield that sits atop a miniature, remote-controlled tank-like vehicle.

Brothers Michael and Geoff Howe say the "SWAT robot" keeps SWAT teams and other safe in standoffs and while confronting armed suspects. It also can provide cover from suspected , like those set off Monday at the Boston Marathon.

Howe and Howe Technologies Inc. developed the machine with Massachusetts State Police. It was unveiled Thursday at the Sanford Police Department.

Police Chief Thomas Connolly heads a regional tactical police squad that has tested the device. He says it give officers a "huge tactical advantage."


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