Day by day, it feels like we grow ever closer to the robot apocalyse, and it seems only fitting that soon robot overlords will be monitoring inmates in a South Korean prison.
Mind you, when I say "robot overlords", what I really mean is "surveillance equipment on wheels." Developed by the Asian Forum for Corrections, a South Korean group of criminal and prison researchers, three 5-foot-tall robots will soon be taking up residence in a prison in the eastern city of Pohang, South Korea for a one month trial period.
The robots are a new kind of prison guard (if you will) that will help the prison detect risky behavior, operate a communication channel between prisoners and prison guards, get help to prisoners more quickly, and help take the workload off of the human prison guards--especially at night. While these bots are no Terminators, these robot guards are equiped with four wheels, cameras, and various sensors to help detect violent behavior.
According to Lee Baik-Chu (as reported by the BBC), the Kyonggi University professor leading the design process, the key operating system is almost complete, and the researchers are now working on making the robot more friendly to inmates. The one-month trial is sponsored by the South Korean government and it will cost 1 billion won, or about $860,585 US.