Friday, April 25, 2008

Too Many Vagrants? Bum Bot to the Rescue!

Vagrants beware - Atlanta pub owner Rufus Terrill has built a robot bouncer to deter criminals and vagrants who cause trouble around his bar. Terrill's "Bum Bot" is a 300-pound, waist-high robot marked "SECURITY", equipped with bright red lights and an even brighter spotlight, infrared security camera that can record and transmit plus a water cannon at the ready in the spinning turret on top. All this plus Terrill's voice saying "You're trespassing. That's private property," through the robot's loudspeaker. Bum Bot has not gone completely without notice in the activist community however. Neighborhood activists, have threatened protests. Street people say it's intimidating. And homeless advocates question the intentions of its inventor. Bum Bot consists of a three-wheel scooter which gives the robot mobility. A home-alarm loudspeaker attached to a walkie-talkie gives it a voice. Its head is a former home meat-smoker. The red lights are from a 1997 Chevrolet, and it's powered by four car batteries. The bar now welcomes patrons with a sign that says "Home of the Bum Bot,".

photo Jason Bronis / AP file

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