Robots to guard prisoners in South Korea

A contingent of guard robots will join in the coming months the ranks of a South Korean prison.

It will be in jail in the eastern city of Pohang, where in March will test for a month to three of these peculiar jailers.

The robots monitor whether inmates perform any abnormal behavior, so that, according to researchers who are the project will help reduce the workload of other guards.

The robots, which measure 1.5 meters have been created by the Asian Forum for Corrections, a group of South Korean researchers specializing in crime and prison policy.

These machines are moving surveillance on four wheels and are equipped with cameras and other sensors that enable them to detect abnormal behaviors such as fighting inmates or suicide attempts.

The design director, Professor Baik-Chu Lee, Kyonggi University, said the robots will send signals to the human guards if they detect a problem.

"As we are about to complete the operating system, now we're working on some details that are not so foreign to the prisoners," he said.

Robots everywhere

In the month that will operate during testing, the maintenance of the robots cost about U.S. $ 857,000, which will be subsidized by the government of South Korea. This is the latest in a series of state investment to develop its robotics industry.

And is that the country aims to be a leader in robotics and companies seeking to become the leading exporters of the industry worldwide.

Therefore, the government says it has spent between 2002 and 2010 over U.S. $ 649 million in research in this area.

Its goal is to compete with other countries like Japan, which are also exploring the potential of this industry.

In October, the ministry said the robot market in Korea has recorded 75% growth over the past two years and the sector currently has an approximate value of U.S. $ 1,500 million.

Among the success stories there is a robotic surveillance system that a South Korean company sold to Algeria and the humanoid robot had to be commanded six other U.S. universities.

In addition, the South Korean defense company is developing DoDAAM export robotic towers that can be programmed to fire automatically and in some schools in the country are implementing robots English teaching assistants to help children practice their pronunciation.

The Joongang Daily newspaper reported in August that a company called Showbar had begun mass production of a robot that helps customers buy and informs them of offers and other companies hope to start selling robots to care for the elderly.

To dramatize the passion of South Koreans by the robots, the government is building a theme park dedicated to these machines.

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