Robot Secures Suspicious Backpack
The Grand Forks, N.D., police station has used its new Andros robot, purchased with $145,000 of Homeland Security grants, to examine and disarm a suspicious-looking backpack that was left near a downtown building. A piece of plastic piping was protruding from the backpack, leading officers to worry that it might contain explosives.
Their solution was to bring in the robot, which was operated by an officer in a protective suit; the robot easily disarmed the backpack of the bricks which were inside it. Officer Jay Middleton ascertained that the bag’s contents were harmless through the use of a portable X-ray machine.
Sgt. Harlan Jensen with the Grand Forks Regional Bomb Squad says he hopes to secure an X-ray machine that can be carried by the wheeled robot.
The robot is manufactured by Northrop Grumman’s Remotec division, and boasts four cameras and a steel arm to pick up and manipulate objects.
The machine is linked to a command van by a fiber-optic cable. Andros robots were recently acquired by police in Bismarck and Minot, while the Fargo police are obtaining one, according to Jensen.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Grand Forks Herald (ND) (09/24/05); Lee, Stephen J.