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For a police officer, an injury can change your career. Get hurt, and you might not be able to complete the physically demanding tasks your job requires each day. Jeremy Robins, a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves, has figured out a way for disabled officers to bring their training and experience back to the job: telebots.

As Robins sees it, a telebot, remotely controlled by a police officer, should be able to handle many duties the police officer used to be responsible for, such as writing tickets and patrolling neighborhoods. To get his idea off the ground, Robins secured a loan of two robots from the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) and convinced researchers at Florida International University to use the robots to develop telecommuting robots for use in the field. Robins also provided $20,000 of his own money.

The Telebot Team at FIU

Image Credit: Florida International University

The researchers have started a new lab to handle this project, and are enlisting the help of some lucky engineering students to create what could be an entirely new way to police – one that will let disabled police officers serve the public the way they once did.

By incorporating video cameras and two-way radio, the telebot could be the "neighborhood beat cop" that was a familiar part of American life before the advent of the ubiquitous patrol car. Cops who can't get out and patrol themselves would be able to do so via telebot, and could provide video and radio guidance to patrolling cars to direct them to a crime scene; and even get electronic "eyewitness" information the help identify suspects.


This could be a good idea as long as people don't screw them up. I could imagine somebody spray painting it's cameras as it writes parking tickets.