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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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  • Re:Assault (Score:3, Interesting)

    by randyest ( 589159 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @06:12PM (#22681670) Homepage
    Yeah it is, but not because of the "vigilantes" squirting trespassers (oh heavens not that!) but because there aren't enough police to keep all the drug dealers and criminals in line. You can thank the War on (Some) Drugs for that, since it makes sure there's a lucrative black market at all times.
  • Re:Assault (Score:2, Interesting)

    by megaditto ( 982598 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @06:19PM (#22681750)
    Part of the problem here is that robots don't have an inherent right to self-defence. If someone punches you, you can hit back no problem... If someone punches a robot, it would be illegal for you to have your robot retaliate.

    I didn't read TFA of course, but if this happens in California or Britain or some crazy liberal place like that, even YOU can't hit trespassers, certainly not for things like littering or using needles or stealing your stuff so long as they don't threaten you personally... your only (legal) recourse is to ask them to stop or call the cops.

    On a personal note, one guy in CA got jailed for keeping an unlicensed flamethrower. That's right folks, going to jail over a home defence project!
  • Re:Or him... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kabocox ( 199019 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @06:49PM (#22682154)
    I read an article about it earlier where a homeless guy followed him back from the square and started joking with him about it. If this is a major money-making area for these drug dealers, it's only a matter of time before one of them follows him and shoots him. I like that he's trying to clean up the neighborhood, and the idea is novel, but I can certainly imagine someone getting a little stabby or shooty after getting sprayed with ice cold water while trying to conduct "business"

    The better solution than going stabby on the inventor would be to pay others to have a cash transaction in public to activate this thing. A couple of innocents are sprayed with ice cold water while exchanging money. Then call the cops and have them deal with the guy. If the cops don't do something, then you keep paying different relatively innocent people to get soaked and to complain to the police about it. Once you have a stack of 20-30 complaints from different people, then you have a random one sue the guy to stop soaking random people so the courts might order an injunction against the guy. If one law suit doesn't work, have a couple of them do it. It doesn't matter if they all go to the same judge. Arrange for somewhat valid reasons why each person was out there to get soaked. When all these various legit sounding people all come before the same judge, then they'll almost be forced to "do something." IF that "do something," is to tell the guy not to have his robot soaking people, so be it.

    What's even better is that you could monitor the process and see if the guy still uses his robot after a court rules on him. If so, make sure you have some one out there legit get soaked, and complain loudly that time. The legal system ought to take care of the guy at that point.
  • by Xandar01 ( 612884 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @07:29PM (#22682594) Journal
    1) A nice siren and flashy lite to attract attention.
    2) Some strategically placed handles that can be electrified
    3) When all else fails, a beeping self-destruct countdown timer
  • none there (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zogger ( 617870 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @07:44PM (#22682770) Homepage Journal
    No rule of law there. None, zero. There are *many* areas of Atlanta that have no actual police presence except to come up and pick up bodies or similar things like that. Even the "mad dogs"-that's 4 beefy cops to a cruiser, that's the local street slang term--give a lot of the areas a wide berth unless there is a huge bust going down and there's like 20 cops with full auto weapons handy. I used to have to work in such a neighborhood, doing repairs on rental units. I couldn't leave my work van unlocked for 15 seconds, the bums, crackheads and winos and local gangstas would come and just stand around and wait for you to leave then go right to trying to break in. I am not kidding. I went armed all the time when I was working around there, it was dang scary. A lot of times I had to just give up and leave, not even try to get into a unit and do some work depending on how bad the local street scene was when I showed up. I have found needles in second story gutters I was tasked to repair. I've put in new doors and plumbing fixtures and window screens etc that were gone-stripped out-within an hour, or just destroyed for some sort of sport.

    I really don't think you have a handle on how bad some of these neighborhoods are, and kids are trying to grow up there and somehow come out reasonable sane and normal. It's just terrible really. Robert Heinlein action, AAs or abandoned areas.
  • Re:It's extra funny (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jammo ( 981940 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @07:57PM (#22682916)
    On a serious note, how bad would the owner feel if they lost control of it on a steep hill and it struck a kid or caused a road accident? On a not so serious note, let it loose on the Amish, hours of fun! Before it got unceremoniously decommissioned.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07, 2008 @07:59PM (#22682942)
    Many states have "Stand Your Ground" laws which do entitle you to respond with force (even deadly force).

    The Florida law legalizes the use of defensive force by anyone "who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be." Furthermore, under the law, such a person "has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony." The statute also grants civil and criminal immunity to anyone found to have had such a reasonable belief. []
  • Re:Or him... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by liquidpele ( 663430 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @10:05PM (#22683924) Journal
    To summarize a quote from Sneakers, organized crime isn't that organized. What he's doing is making a bunch of crackheads/dealers (all probably homeless and/or in their twenties) leave and do their business elsewhere. I doubt they'll really care that much that they have to walk 3 blocks down to score now. It's nice for his immediate area, but it's no solution to the actual problem.
  • by yawble ( 181792 ) <> on Saturday March 08, 2008 @12:25AM (#22684658) Homepage Journal
    And the bot is a hit. He actually talks to the cops that come in from time to time, and they love it. Rufus has to deal with these homeless wastes of space coming in, harassing the customers, and trying to steal shit all the time.

    He actually owns most of the entire block, and everyone supports him. That poor shitty homeless shelter down the street sure fucks things up all around the entire area.

    He has actually ran for Gov. I believe, and came in last every time, but hell.... I think cities need crazy old guys like this.

    Before you bother white knighting for the 'poor homeless chaps' down the road, you should hang out for a couple of hours, and watch them smoke crack, huff paint, and harass poor passer-by.
  • Re:none there (Score:2, Interesting)

    by macdaddy357 ( 582412 ) <> on Saturday March 08, 2008 @03:00PM (#22687940)
    Here is something cool! Video of the bum bot in action. []
    Check it out.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger