RoboCops Now Guarding South Korean Prisons

As if you needed any more reasons not to end up in a South Korean prison, they now have scary looking robot guards

1 min read
RoboCops Now Guarding South Korean Prisons

The next time you find yourself in a South Korean prison (and don't worry, it happens to the best of us), this not especially friendly looking robot is going to be either your new best buddy or your new worst enemy. But probably the latter.

Sinister, yeah?

The thing I'm not sure about here is just how complicated this robot looks relative to what it's actually capable of doing. It's huge and presumably very expensive, but aside from a microphone, a camera, some flashing lights, an alarm, and what looks to be an off-the-shelf Kinect sensor, it doesn't seem to really be able to do much. Like, you sort of get the feeling that you could do 90 percent of what this robot does with a Rovio or some other telepresence platform.

The sophisticated part might be the software, which looks to be able to analyze behavior and make decisions as to when to alert a human operator that something is up. This is handy, but again, you don't necessarily need something so gigantic and unwieldy to send audio and video back to a computer somewhere that can do the same kinds of things. 

The next step is, apparently, a robot that "conducts body searches," which strikes me as an application that could be particularly unpleasant for the end user. But that might be the whole idea, I suppose: how likely are you to try and sneak contraband into a prison if you encounter a robot snapping a latex glove over its steely, probe-like fingers?

[ Reuters ] via [ PC World ]

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Image of a combine harvester within a wheat field, harvesting.

Russia is the world's largest wheat exporter, with 20 percent of the world's wheat trade. Combine harvesters that can drive themselves using technology from Russian company Cognitive Pilot are helping to make the harvesting process faster and more efficient.

Cognitive Pilot

The field of automated precision agriculture is based on one concept—autonomous driving technologies that guide vehicles through GPS navigation. Fifteen years ago, when high-accuracy GPS became available for civilian use, farmers thought things would be simple: Put a GPS receiver station at the edge of the field, configure a route for a tractor or a combine harvester, and off you go, dear robot!

Practice has shown, however, that this kind of carefree field cultivation is inefficient and dangerous. It works only in ideal fields, which are almost never encountered in real life. If there's a log or a rock in the field, or a couple of village paramours dozing in the rye under the sun, the tractor will run right over them. And not all countries have reliable satellite coverage—in agricultural markets like Kazakhstan, coverage can be unstable. This is why, if you want safe and efficient farming, you need to equip your vehicle with sensors and an artificial intelligence that can see and understand its surroundings instead of blindly following GPS navigation instructions.

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