Science and Tech


Microsoft Adds Robot Guards, Ushers In Sci-Fi Apocalypse

Microsoft has robotic security guards working at its Silicon Valley Campus.
Posted at 9:32 AM, Nov 24, 2014

If this were a sci-fi movie, this would be the moment where the characters have the sudden realization that the robots have taken over.

Microsoft is now using robotic security guards to monitor its Silicon Valley campus. They are being referred to as "autonomous data machines" that sit at 5 feet tall, weigh approximately 300 pounds and look a bit like a familiar, campy sci-fi villain.

"Exterminate! Exterminate!"

But don't worry these machines don't have any actual weapons. They use an array of cameras and microphones to access a situation and determine if a human security guard needs to be notified. It can also read license plates and detect if the car is stolen. 

The robot's only way of actually interfering with people are loud sirens meant to scare away anyone it detects is up to no good. If it detects a person in front of it, it simply stops and moves around it. (Video via KPIX)

These robots obviously can't replace human workers entirely, but they do come at a time when there is an increased focus on utilizing robots for security and military purposes. 

South Korea has a number of machine-gun armed robotsguarding it's border with North Korea. But those require a human operator before it will fire on any target.

A South Korean official explained the appeal of the robots to Stars and Stripes, "These robots have automatic surveillance, which doesn’t leave room for anything resembling human laziness. They also won’t have any fear (of) enemy attackers on the front lines."

Also, Google-owned Boston Dynamics has been working on a few projects meant to aid soldiers. Such as this machine built to carry up to 400 pounds of equipment over rough terrain and this one that can help remove heavy debris. 

Right now, Knightscope, the company that developed the robots monitoring the Microsoft campus, is only offering its machines to businesses but it eventually hopes to expand into law enforcement. So yeah, it would be a real-life Robocop.