Architecting Crowd Control


Last week (19 October 2011) T3 Motion Inc. in CA launched their all electric Non-Lethal Response Vehicle(NLRV) for “crowd control.”The vehicle is a souped-up three-wheeled Segway equipped two compressed air powered rifles able to shoot 700 non-lethal rounds per minute of pepper, water, dye, or rubber projectiles, and each vehicles can carry 10,000 rounds.According to Trendhunter, the NLRV also has a “40,000-lumen LED strobe light, a riot shield, a P.A. system, and puncture-proof tires” as well as a video camera.The notion of a law enforcement officer shooting an automatic (non-lethal, as it may be) to quell a riot does not quite fit in with general first amendment rights for peaceful assembly and typical demonstrations that as far as I know are generally NOT an all heck break loose scenario.I wonder whether instead of a NLRV for handling riot control, a better idea would be a Lethal Response Vehicle (LRV)–with proper training and precautions–to handle homeland security patrols at major points of entry and around critical infrastructure.From an architecture perspective, this seems to me to be a clear case of where a “desirement” by somebody out there (gaming, fantasy, or what not) should be channeled into fulfilling a more genuine requirementfor people actually protecting our homeland.The benefits of speed and maneuverability can benefit field officers in the right situations–where real adversaries need to be confronted quickly with the right equipment.

Shalom Rotundus

Rotundus, the rolling robot, was designed by the European Space Agency for exploration of distant planets like Mars and Mercury, but now it has found its way into many earthly avocations.
This Groundbot has “eyes” on either side of its roly-poly robotic body and has a unique internal pendulum for maneuvering around.
Currently, Rotundus is deployed for sentry duty at SAAB auto manufacturing plants.
However, as you can see in the video, it can also function comfortably in a home environment as a quasi baby-sitter for the kids.
Already, we see robots in Japan providing service to people from servers in restaurants to caretakers for the elderly.
I appreciated the interview with the CTO at Rotundus who shares his vision for robots that “provide not only security, but also pleasure to people.”
Rotundus is a great example of how robots can come in virtually any way, shape or form.
The key is that robots leverage the best of automation and innovation to help ordinary people do things simpler, easier, and more convenient than ever before.