Robot to help cops in dangerous cases

TARINA WHITE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:31 AM ET

Alberta Mounties could soon be using a Calgary-designed unmanned robot capable of mimicking human behaviours to assist officers in life-threatening situations.

Unlike remote-controlled robots, Nova 5 uses artificial intelligence to interpret its surroundings, process the information and then navigate independently -- mimicking the function of the human brain.

The breakthrough technology unveiled yesterday has been developed by two electronics engineering students and brothers at Calgary's DeVry Institute of Technology. Fady and Sami Khaled have spent two years creating Nova 5, a tiny robot that moves on two tracks and uses a camera and infra-red technology to view its surroundings.

"This has been a childhood dream for me to make Nova 5 real," said Fady, 30, the lead on the project. "The purpose of this robot, at the bottom line, is to save human lives."

Nova 5 is so advanced it can even store experiences in its permanent memory and recall them -- the "holy grail" of robotics.

"It will see in human terms and it will think in human terms as well," said Fady.

Nova 5, which can transmit real-time audio and video from 10 km away, is one of the most-advanced robots on Earth, said Don Matthews, president of the Canadian Centre for Unmanned Vehicle Systems.

"Around the world, people are talking about what Fady has created," said Matthews.

"This is a big accomplishment for Canada, Alberta and for Calgary." DeVry professor and team adviser Peter Bovell said the RCMP approached them about creating a robot to help officers in life-threatening situations. Nova 5 will be produced within a year for about $35,000, said Fady.


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