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Ohio Police Unveil Diminutive Surveillance Robot

Riddle -- What's heavier than two bowling balls, smaller than a bread box and police like to throw it through windows?

It's a new, diminutive surveillance robot Akron police unveiled to the public Thursday at the Fraternal Order of Police lodge on Ley Drive.

The mobile remote-controlled device is designed specifically for law-enforcement purposes to venture into areas that might prove unsafe.

Akron police recently purchased the AVATAR Micro robot from RoboteX for $11,445 and plans to make it a regular member of the department's SWAT unit. The department will make the robot available to all Summit County safety forces.

On Thursday, several area safety workers took turns operating the device.

The AVATAR is operated with a hand-held controller similar to one used for a remote-controlled car and has two infrared color cameras that provide a 360-degree image of what the robot is seeing. The robot also has a two-way radio that police can use to communicate with someone inside a home.

The robot can cover all sorts of terrain, including stairs, and can be tossed into homes and buildings to clear the way for first responders.

Police in Miami, Seattle, Oakland, Houston, St. Louis and San Francisco also use the device, according to RoboteX.

Copyright 2012 - The Akron Beacon Journal

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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