Microsoft's robot guards look more like science fiction villains than something that can protect you but the 5-foot, 300-pound machines showed up earlier this month for temporary duty on the company's Silicon Valley campus help provide security.
According to a Tech In Motion release
, Knightscope has developed what it called the K5 Autonomous Data Machine, which is a "combination of autonomous technology, robotics and predictive analytics to provide a commanding but friendly physical presence while gathering important real-time on-site data with its numerous sensors."
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Digital Trends reported
that while the K5 does not carry weapons, its cameras, microphones and artificial intelligence is enough to determine if a human security guard needs to be notified. For example, it can read license plates on vehicles to determine if they have been stolen.
"Basically, it's a security guard on wheels," wrote Sebastian Anthony of Extreme Tech.com
. "Inside that rather large casing … there are four high-def cameras facing in each direction, another camera that can do car license plate recognition, four microphones, gentle alarms, blaring sirens, weather sensors, and WiFi connectivity so that each robot can contact (headquarters) if there's some kind of security breach/situation."
"For navigating the environment, there's GPS and 'laser scanning.' And of course, at the heart of each K5 is a computer running artificial intelligence software that integrates all of that data and tries to make intelligent inferences…," wrote Anthony.
Digital Trends said the K5 is the latest is robo security guards, noting that South Korea employs several machine-gun armed robots guarding its border with North Korea, but those need human interaction before they can be fired.
"These robots have automatic surveillance, which doesn't leave room for anything resembling human laziness," South Korean officials told Stars and Stripes. "They also won't have any fear (of) enemy attackers on the front lines."
said the robot looked something akin to "something out of the Doctor Who universe." Some others have compared it to Rover, the large security balloon in the 1960s British science fiction cult classic "The Prisoner."
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