It seems fitting that since I've added an unofficial "robot" beat to this blog, there's been tons of exciting robot news and a visit to the wonderful Robotville festival at the Science Museum.
Of course, as with the soft robot, many new robotic developments seem just as likely to bring us to the robopocalypse as to a better society. You can file these new prison guards with the former.
South Korea is beginning a month-long trial of new robot guards, 5 foot tall machines designed to appear friendly to inmates. They're not designed to engage with the prisoners, but will report observations back to a human guard on duty.
The advantages are obvious: they're immune to prisoner taunting, they won't exploit prisoners, and they'll be unbiased observers.
However, I'm guessing they aren't terribly immune from that most basic thing that all prisoners will have access to: water.
The prototypes were designed by The Asian Forum for Corrections, in concert with Kyonggi University. And they assure us that "the robots are not terminators".
Isn't he cute?