Bum Bot – the vigilante robot

Prostitutes and drug dealers on the streets of Atlanta had better watch out: there’s a Robo-cop in town. But this is no shiny piece of government technology. The amusingly named Bum Bot, a pint-sized tank mounted with a high pressure water gun, has been cobbled together from a mobility scooter, a chicken smoker and a couple of old wheelchairs.

Tavern owner Rufus Terrill created the robot to help his local neighbourhood association. He pilots it around the neighbourhood at night by remote control, seeking out the unrighteous and forcing them off his streets.

And thanks to the inclusion of a webcam and PA system the robot can star in its own reality show, projected onto the walls of Terrill’s tavern. Punters yell encouragement to the robot, while Terrill gives warning messages to potential targets before blasting them with water.

There’s something a bit unsettling about neighbourhood policing being turned into a spectator sport, leaving aside the questionable legality of assaulting people with water cannons. But you have to admire the results. The owner of a local daycare centre is delighted at the reduction in used condoms and needles being left in her playground. And since we always have to think of the children, all credit to Terrill for taking the initiative.

(Image: from jurvetson’s flickr stream)

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