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This robot guard keeps an unblinking eye on suspicious activities

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If ever Pepper gains sentience and starts looking for a boyfriend, Bob sounds like the perfect candidate. Just like Pepper, Bob takes on a legless, rather funny appearance (as opposed to South Korea's intimidating robotic prison guards) and serves a specific purpose: to assist human security personnel and alert them when there's trouble. In fact, he just joined security company G4S for a three-week trial, where his current duties include scanning and filming every room in its Gloucestershire headquarters in 3D. He can also notify his operators not just of any suspicious activity, but also of things that changed since his last round, like if an emergency exit is closed when it shouldn't be. Obviously, the University of Birmingham researchers who created Bob didn't design to replace human guards, so you can breathe easy -- for now, anyway.

They also didn't design him to be the most agile robot around, but at least he's still capable of charging himself when he needs it... and pinging for help in case he gets stuck, say, in between furniture. Bob won't be seeing any action outside the company's headquarters for 15 days while his creators observe whether he can survive on his own. After all, he's a product of a £7.2 ($12.2) million robot pilot project, and it won't be cheap replacing him. By the way, security work might be dangerous at times, but Bob has it easy compared to his sibling, Werner. The robotic project's other creation is about to be deployed to a care home in Austria, where he's expected not only to guard the premises but also to play simple games with the residents.

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