7 December 2021

Robo-covid cop

The Back Page

Have you noticed how everyone has gotten a little slack about social distancing since lockdown ended?

Everyone except you, of course.

Do you wish there was a hero who could set things right? A hero impervious to covid, bullets and the social discomfort of asking a stranger to take a half-metre step away from you?

Not the hero we deserve, but the hero we need.

Thanks to an international team of researchers at the University of Maryland, your prayers have been answered. Say hello to the “vision-guided covid surveillance robot” (or “CS-robot” to friends).

The CS-robot is programmed to detect social distancing breaches using its own inbuilt camera and sensor, as well as being able to tap into any available CCTV systems. Once it reaches the breach, the robot encourages people to move apart via text that appears on a mounted display.

And if that doesn’t work, there are more persuasive methods at its disposal.

Not really, although it was partly funded by the US Army Research Office …

It’s even been equipped with a thermal camera so that it can detect people with potential fevers to help with contact tracing. Or to track down that most elusive of prey … man!

“I said at least one metre apart you two!”

If you see something in breach of your prime directive, say something to felicity@medicalrepublic.com.au

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