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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Robot to stand guard at school

A robot is to be deployed as a security guard at a South Korean school in what its creators claim is a world first, the Korea Times reported Thursday.

The robot, dubbed OFRO, will be posted at a Seoul middle school to test its potential before going on sale.

OFRO possesses a sensor head which rotates 360° automatically with integrated thermo camera, two ultrasound distance sensors, GSM module and WLAN built in.

Makers DU Robo said it could be used to alert staff to attempts by outsiders to seduce students.

"One possible scenario is that OFRO will alert officials when it detects someone trying to seduce a student," the firm's CEO Kang Jung-Won told the newspaper. Teachers could then either warn the offender through a loudspeaker or send human security guards.

The firm claims it is the first time a robot has been used to guard an educational institution.

"After going through the feasibility test, we (will) look to commercialise the feature-rich OFRO that retails at around $US100,000 as a school guardian," said Kang.

OFRO moves at a leisurely maximum of five kph (three mph) and can either patrol pre-programmed routes or be manually controlled. It has a camera and microphone link to teachers or a security firm.

Last summer, OFRO provided security services during the World Cup in Germany.

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