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Robotics Hardware

Homemade Robot Patrols Atlanta Streets 324

Josh Fink brings news of an Atlanta resident who has created a remote control robot to scare off criminals during the night. Rufus Terrill, an engineer, uses it to patrol the streets and encourage drug dealers and other shady characters to move on. Local residents call it his "Robocop." From CNN: "It's a barbecue smoker mounted on a three-wheeled scooter, and armed with an infrared camera, spotlight, loudspeaker and aluminum water cannon that shoots a stream of icy water about 20 feet. Operated by remote control, the robot spotlights trespassers on property down the street from his bar, O'Terrill's. Using a walkie-talkie, Terrill belts out through the robot's loudspeaker, 'That's private property. You guys need to get out of here.'"
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Homemade Robot Patrols Atlanta Streets

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  • Assault (Score:4, Informative)

    by odin84gk ( 1162545 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @05:43PM (#22681304)
    From the article

    Police Major Lane Hagin says ... "There's no problem with the robot going up and down the street or being visible or any of the other things it does -- with the exception of spraying water on people." Hagin adds, "Then, it becomes an assault no matter where it happens."
  • No bashing (Score:4, Informative)

    by Harmonious Botch ( 921977 ) * on Friday March 07, 2008 @05:46PM (#22681332) Homepage Journal
    To me, the most notable element of the story is what DIDN'T happen: nobody attenpted to destroy the bot, or even tip it over. Here on slashdot, I predict, within the first 20 posts someone will be remarking how they would destroy it if they encountered it. But the people in the story don't. Is it something about being homeless, or something about being a dealer, or something about being a drug user?
  • Re:NIce (Score:4, Informative)

    by bodino ( 240393 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @05:49PM (#22681364) Homepage
    The trouble with a sprinkler system is that Atlanta is in severe drought
  • by KublaiKhan ( 522918 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @05:49PM (#22681366) Homepage Journal
    Technically, yes, it is assault--as is spitting in someone's face, or any other sort of unsolicited touching.

    Whether it'd be prosecuted is open to question.
  • Re:Assault (Score:3, Informative)

    by provigilman ( 1044114 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @06:17PM (#22681716) Homepage Journal
    IANAL, but I would believe that the line is drawn at intent and the dilberateness of the act. A sprinkler system going off on a timer while someone happens to be on your lawn is one thing, triggering a device to purposefully spray someone is an entirely different matter...whether or not the device is mobile.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07, 2008 @06:17PM (#22681718)
    That wasn't Robocop, that was ed-209.

    Robocop's line was "Put down your weapon and come quietly, or there will be... trouble."
  • Re:Assault (Score:5, Informative)

    by RockModeNick ( 617483 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @07:27PM (#22682574)
    Sadly you CAN'T hit back if someone hits you 95% of the time. Unless they have you physically trapped so you cannot escape the situation, or are defending a threat on your own property (so forget defending your car in a parking lot) if you hit back and do substantially more damage with that hit that they did(you have a bruise on the arm, he has a shattered jaw) you are definately getting charges filed by the police if the incident gets to them. If neither of you is hurt bad it's probably just disturbing the peace charges for both of you. Only big exception on hitting someone when not trapped or on your own property and they assault you is defense of another - if guy is decking his GF(or bf I guess) at a bar and you decide to knock him out before he does real damage, you're probably not getting in trouble so long as the victim you defend corroborates your story.
  • Re:Assault (Score:2, Informative)

    by ZanySpyDude ( 1215564 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @09:30PM (#22683724) Homepage
    Well, I'm going to guess that since he ran for office he probably votes. From the article: "Terrill bought his bar four years ago knowing nothing about the restaurant business. He ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor of Georgia in 2006. He's had ongoing problems with people breaking into his bar and stealing things, but it was the day care center problems that spurred him on to create the robot." The robot also seems to have attracted some attention so maybe people in the city will be asking their officials why there aren't more police around these areas...

All science is either physics or stamp collecting. -- Ernest Rutherford