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Camera-equipped robot patrols Singapore park telling people to social distance during COVID-19 pandemic

Is this creepy or helpful?

Image source: YouTube screenshot

Last month, a drone flew around New York City and instructed people to practice proper social distancing guidelines. Drones have been used by police departments in San Diego and Connecticut to warn people of the dangers of the novel coronavirus. State and local entities around the country are using drones manufactured and donated by Chinese company DJI for coronavirus distancing enforcement. In Singapore, they have a four-legged, dog-like robot equipped with cameras that patrols a park during the COVID-19 pandemic to remind people to social distance.

A robot named "Spot" is patrolling Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park to tell people to practice social distancing by broadcasting a recorded message. The robot is equipped with sensors and cameras, plus it features 3D-mapping and video analytics developed by GovTech that allow it to estimate the number of visitors in the park. Singapore said that the cameras on the robot would not track people or use facial recognition.

Spot is controlled remotely and can walk on paths as well as in the grass. Spot can venture in wooded areas that flying drones might have difficulty operating in.

Spot is accompanied by at least one park officer, which helps minimize how many park employees interact with crowds. Singapore's National Parks Board is giving Spot a two-week trial during off-peak hours.

If Spot looks familiar, it is because it is made by Boston Dynamics, which has shared several viral videos of its dog-like robots since 2017.

Hey Buddy, Can You Give Me a Hand? www.youtube.com

Spot has also been modified so that it can help health care workers interact with patients infected with the novel coronavirus. The Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston has been using a Spot robot equipped with an iPad so that medical staff can safely communicate with COVID-19 patients.

Boston hospital using robot to communicate with suspected Covid-19 patients www.youtube.com

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