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TeleBot: Design Concept of Telepresence Robot for Law Enforcement

*Mangai Prabakar1)and Jong-Hoon Kim2)

1), 2)Discovery Lab, School of Computing and Information Sciences Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199, USA

ABSTRACT

There are several telepresence robots that exist as minimalist mobile structures with attached video screens. The TeleBot, created in Discovery Lab at Florida International University, was developed for disabled veterans and police officers to remotely perform patrolling and law enforcement duties. This telepresence robot takes on a humanoid form to make human interaction more comfortable and resemble a law enforcement figure. The TeleBot needs to look intimidating and authoritative enough for citizens to obey the commands, since the orders are given by an actual disabled police officer remotely controlling the robot. A helpful, friendly appearance is also necessary, however, to make the TeleBot approachable to citizens of all ages. This challenging design constraint is resolved with the TeleBot prototype. For ground motion, we use a two-wheeled structure instead of four wheels. This occupies less space and leaves a small footprint similar to a human, whereas a tall bipedal robot will take long strides. The design resembles a police officer riding a Segway, an accustomed sight for citizens. Using a two-wheel mechanism contributes to efficiency, smaller footprint size, and reduced cost.
However, certain cases of balance mechanism failure are not appropriate during human interaction. In this instance, we alter the architecture with a two-wheel to three-wheel transformation to stabilize the system. This guarantees stationary balance during human interaction in case of uneven terrain, balance mechanism malfunction, or excessive TeleBot bending and arm motions. Since the TeleBot is remotely operated, the control mechanisms and motions are simplified to make the operation easier. For increased stability of the robot, the frame is designed to position the center of mass at the bottom third of the robot with housing for battery. In addition, to reduce the weight of the TeleBot, the frame is built with lightweight metal tubes and the exterior shell is fabricated with durable, lightweight material. The three dimensional surface design of the shell takes into account both ergonomics and aerodynamics. In this paper, we present the full architecture and design of the TeleBot. The implementation of the robot prototype shows feasibility of this design.