The Demilitarized Zone(DMZ) is a 160-mile long, 2.5-mile wide strip of land that separates the two Koreas. South Korea has recently bumped up the security on its side of the DMZ with something straight out of your favorite sci-fi novel or videogame: a machinegun-equipped robot.
According to Stars and Stripes, the robot in question is the SGR-1, created by Samsung. It is equipped with a 5.5-milimeter machine gun and has both heat and motion detectors that can identify and shoot a potential target more than two miles away. In addition, the SGR-1 is capable of firing rubber bullets as a warning.
So the burning question: Why use robots, aside from the fact that it sounds absolutely awesome
Huh Kwang-hak, a spokesman for Samsung Techwin (the manufacturer of the SGR-1 robot), told Stars and Stripes that the robots will not be used to replace soldiers, but to work alongside them in defensive matters.
So should we fear the immediate threat of super battles between robots on the battlefield
The SGR-1 is a purely defensive mechanism in that it is a stationary robot, which means that it cannot get up and move about, so it operates more like a tower or "turret gun." Second, they are human-controlled. When the SGR-1 detects a potential threat, an alarm goes off and notifies a command center. The operator then uses the robots' video and audio communication equipment to talk to the identified threat before ever firing a shot. From there, the Commanders make the final decision on whether or not to fire.
It should be noted that while SGR-1s have the capability of automatic surveillance, they cannot automatically fire on their own at detected foreign objects or figures. This is good news.
For obvious security reasons, locations of these robots have not been disclosed nor do we even know how many there are throughout the DMZ. (Or do you really want to find out yourself the hard way) We can say, however, that it takes about one day to setup these robots and that they carry a price tag of USD 200,000 each.
The robots were actually deployed onto the DMZ more than a month ago and apparently their presence will continue at least through the end the year.
This is yet another gadget that South Korea has created and is being used by their military. Earlier this year, there was the introduction of the MetalCell, a portable battery that can generate energy for electronics such as flashlights and laptops from saltwater. If there is no saltwater, one can use urine. For the military, these types of gadgets are very useful. Electronics sometimes run out of battery and there is no way for someone to charge it. That is why this urine-powered battery can be a reliable backup for emergency situations.
SOURCE: PC World additional research by Daniel Ko