Robots Monitor Prisons

A South Korean effort to reduce stress among corrections officers

Prison guards often face high levels of stress due to under staffing, overtime and rotating shift work associated with their work. This often results in burnout, health problems, high turnover rates and even low life expectancy.

Recently, a prison in Pohang, South Korea, began trials using robotic prison guards for the purpose of keeping prisoners safe and decreasing the workload of correctional officers in the particularly stressful environment.

The robots, which are about a metre and a half tall, use 3D cameras, a wireless two-way communication system and software made to recognize human behaviour patterns to keep an eye on things while patrolling prison hallways. Paired with special features on the robot, navigation tags located along corridor ceilings enable the robot to perform autonomous patrols. If the robot detects any signs of trouble, it’s immediately able to alert staff at the facility. Additionally, the robot remains supervised by a human guard who is capable of taking control of the robot at anytime via use of an iPad.

The video above by Reuters, includes a brief interview with Lee Baik-Chu who lead the design process for the robots and is now Chairman of the Asian Forum for Correction (AFC) that developed the robots along with the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute and manufacturer SMEC.

Could robots help ease the stress of your job? Click HERE to learn about a European initiative that envisions robots lending us a hand in a variety of work environments.

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