Wednesday, March 5, 2008


the atlanta journal-constitution reports on rufus terrill, a local tavern owner with a novel approach to neighborhood crime.

He mounted an old meat smoker atop a three-wheel scooter and attached a spotlight, an infrared camera, water cannon and a loudspeaker. He covered the contraption with impact-resistant rubber and painted the whole thing jet black.

in this video clip, the robo-smoker doesn't come off as terribly intimidating. in fact, i can't imagine it surviving long in an actual high-crime neighborhood, since its li'l water gun would never stand up against a sustained attack by a louisville slugger.

in atlanta, as elsewhere, the police generally frown on vigilantism -- even robotic vigilantism-by-proxy:

Atlanta police officials said they haven't received any complaints about the robot. But police spokeswoman Lisa Keyes said Terrill would be committing an assault if he intentionally sprays water on someone when in control of the robot.

i'm not sayin' that there's a racial angle to this story, but there's certainly a socioeconomic angle. the bar is in close proximity to the metro atlanta task force for the homeless and mr. terrill's regulars apparently refer to the robot as the bum-bot. while i can't applaud the use of his private security robot on the public streets, i've got to give mr. terrill 10 out of 10 for ingenuity.

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