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People for some applications, Robots for others

USPS.JPGSome days, you need to rely on the professionals at the US Postal Service to handle a security incident with your mail. Don't worry, they don't arrive suited up like the model in the picture, they will be in an unmarked SUV. The protective gear comes on with their handheld sniffing machines, looking for dangerous toxins. We rely on the technology, experience, and expertise of USPS in these situations. ​

Just a short distance away from the Postal Inspectors was a Knightscope robot that can see and smell. Both have their purpose in the security world, at least for now.

As a child, I watched in envy the Jetson's Rosie the Robot. As an adult, I couldn't turn away from Battle

knightscope1.JPGBots — I wanted a robot with a spinning blade. So when I first heard Knightscope built a robot for security purposes, I began to think of many applications besides the obvious security guard. I learned earlier this year at a demonstration in Houston, it is very far advanced, with cameras, GPS, smoke sensors and more. (Full disclosure, after that demo I invested a small amount of money in the company to fulfill my R2D2 ownership dream.)

knightscope2.JPGIn the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, there were many areas of Houston that were inaccessible due to flooding. In many cases, it was dangerous or impossible to have people in the area, but I wondered if leaving a robot in place after evacuating could give updates to building owners. In many cases, we had flooding that occurred AFTER the storm, because of reservoir dam releases. A robot doesn't need food, water, restrooms or electricity to show us how high the flood waters have reached. Obviously, the Knightscope robots are not waterproof, but they could undertake jobs that are not safe for humans during a natural disaster, like giving us visuals of the perimeter.

I stopped by Knightscope's booth and saw that they had a new vehicle that could go more places, along with a stationary robot, and of course their original mobile ones. CEO William Santana Li was there, showing these new robots. Their booth in the exhibit hall was packed with visitors, and they are getting all kinds of new ideas for applications. These are the kinds of game changing applications of advances in security that are exciting as the industry is moving forward with new technology.

Larissa Lindsay

Houston Chapter