Real RoboCop could put veterans, disabled officers back on patrol

RoboCop may be hitting the theaters soon, but Florida International University has developed its own version of the futuristic law officer.

The Miami school’s Discovery Lab will introduce a prototype of a TeleBot – combining telepresence and robotics — that researchers and students developed “to allow disabled police and military personnel to serve as patrol officers,” according to a statement from the university.

The demonstration will occur Wednesday at 10 a.m., at the Graham Center pit on FIU’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus. “Unlike the RoboCop of the movie that premieres this week, the FIU TeleBot is not expected to cause damage to life or property,” the statement said.

“This kind of project requires a lot of hard work, technical expertise and resources,” Discovery Lab Director Jong-Hoon Kim said. “We had to build everything from scratch. The students are very motivated and feel like they are making a real contribution.”

The project has logged countless hours to get to this point, according to the statement, which said:

Researchers and students have worked for more than 18 months to refine technology that will allow a disabled person to control the robot remotely, see everything the robot “sees” and interact with members of the public.

Having overcome multiple challenges, chief among them proper hand functioning, the team has finished work on a prototype that stands six feet tall, weighs about 75 pounds and can be controlled from a remote location.

The TeleBot project began in 2012 when Jeremy Robins, a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves,donated $20,000 to the Discovery Lab to develop an idea he had to bring disabled law enforcement officers, as well as disabled combat veterans, back to the force.

“What impresses me most about the TeleBot prototype is that most of the work was performed by undergraduate students operating under very tight budget and time constraints,” Robins said.

Watch the TeleBot prototype in action here:

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