Steve Norris, a software engineer with a knack for robotics, has built himself a remote-controlled robot in his spare time that could give professional bots a run for their money. The aptly titled PatrolBot Mark II trundles around on wheels and sends its operator a live video feed from its night vision camera. Of course, being a hobby project it isn't designed to be dangerous – but its 100-db car horn and water gun might put a scare into trespassing raccoons.
"I set out to create an outdoor robot that would use all metal construction and include a suspension system," Norris writes at his website. "Being relegated to the great outdoors I also wanted to give it some harmless (but fun) defensive capabilities as well. And with its suspension and defensive systems I now have a robot that can smooth out the bumps and kick butt all at the same time."
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Unlike this other PatrolBot, Steve's probably won't be stopping any thieves in the foreseeable future, though it is a pretty nifty example of what can be accomplished with the tools that are out there.
Norris has built a couple dozen robots over the years, some of which have been featured in Robot Magazine, so if you're interested in building a robot yourself, you might want to swing by his website. There you can find the source code and design plans for his various projects, and possibly learn a thing or two. You can also check out more photos and videos of his creations at his flickr photostream and YouTube channel.
You can see the PatrolBot Mark II doing its thing in the video below.