April 12 - A prison in South Korea is testing the world's first robot prison guard. Equipped with 3D cameras and software designed to gauge a prisoner's emotional state, the robot might soon replace human guards to keep prisons safe. Ben Gruber reports.
It's the world's first robot prison guard...and, according to the Asian Forum of Corrections', it's the future of prison security. Lee Baik-Chul, the forum chairman says the robot is a game changer. (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) LEE BAIK-CHUL, CHAIRMAN OF ASIAN FORUM FOR CORRECTION SAYING: "The purpose to develop this kind of robot is to secure prisoner's life and safety, and to decrease the workload of correctional officers in a poor working environment." The robot was developed in South Korea and is currently undergoing its first field trial. Equipped with 3D cameras and software designed to study human behavior, the robot is able to detect abnormal prisoner activity and report back to its controllers. (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) LEE BAIK-CHUL, CHAIRMAN OF ASIAN FORUM FOR CORRECTION SAYING: "By using the 3D depth camera, it will detect every detail of actions happening inside through a window. So, when there is an unusual behaviour, it's going to analyse it and report the problem to the control system. Therefore, correctional officers will run and arrive at the scene in time." An officer can also use the robot's two way wireless system to communicate with a prisoner without having to leave the control room. The robot has been designed to patrol a prison autonomously, but an IPad will allow manual control as well. The next step, say designers, is a robot that conducts body searches although they admit, neither the technology nor the prison system is quite ready for a step that far into the future. Ben Gruber, Reuters.