Hands-Free Police In Control
The University of New Hampshire’s Project 54 continues to develop a system that allows police officers to deliver voice commands to their cruisers.
Three faculty members in the electrical and computer engineering department, along with four engineers, a technician, and about 25 students, are now working to extend the voice-activated technology to personal digital assistants, which would enable officers who have PDAs to command a background check and other tasks while they are as far as 300 feet away from their cruiser.
The technology retrieves the background information, while the police officer can keep their focus on a suspect who may attempt to flee the scene. Project 54 has already developed a voice-activated system that is designed to work with cruisers that have a computer onboard.
The technology, which costs about $1,000 to install, transforms the computer into a voice-based system for automatically activating the antenna, radar, and background checks, and switching radio frequency. In fact, an officer can say “pursuit,” and the computer will activate the siren and blue lights, flash headlights, and relay his or her position to the dispatch center.
“You can keep your hands on the wheel when you’re in hot pursuit, when a split-second decision can mean the difference between life and death, particularly for a pedestrian,” says Stephan Poulin, an officer with the Exeter, N.H., police department.
The technology has been embraced by about 65 departments, including those in Massachusetts, Maryland, and California, and has been deployed in about 450 police cars.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Boston Globe (01/15/06); Long, Tom .