RAWC in the news?

The Los Angeles Times has an article in today’s paper about a West Covina police robot built by West Covina High School robotics students. While the article doesn’t mention FIRST, I’m guessing that some of the students on team 968 must have helped. Any comment?

[edit]Here’s the picture that accompanied the print version of the article:

can you copy and paste the artical because it says we have to be registered users to read it…thanks joe’s dad :smiley:

I’ll have to consult my lawyer first. Joe?.. :wink:

In the mean time, though, registration is free.

[edit]I just submitted a request to the Times for permission to post the article and pictures. We’ll see what they say.[/edit]

Here is the article… This bothers me… the LA Times wants my Phone Number… What to call me at dinner time? No… they don’t get my real one…

SWAT Team Robot Is Ready to Roll
For dirty work, West Covina police will turn to a machine that grew from a class project.
By Richard Winton
Times Staff Writer

May 28, 2004

When the West Covina SWAT team unleashes Bulldog, it’s not for his bite.

It’s for his ability to see in the dark, survive in the line of fire and provide a perfect description of a suspect to SWAT team members.

Bulldog is a 150-pound remotely operated robot. It resembles the battling robots on “BattleBots” more than NASA’s Mars rover.

This Robocop is 5 feet tall with a claw, two cameras, a pair of halogen lights mounted on four powerful motorized wheels. It was two years in the making by West Covina High School robotics students and mechanical engineer Zack Bieber.

What began as a small-scale class project evolved into a device that can open doors, deliver a phone for hostage negotiations or carry a metal plate to shield officers from gunfire.

“Before Bulldog, we’d stick a mirror around a corner to see where a suspect was. It would expose our position,” said Officer Brian Prizzi, a schools liaison and member of the SWAT team. “Bulldog can take the point. This robot can save lives.”

Robots in various forms are increasingly taking on the most hazardous tasks that police officers and soldiers once performed.

Robots now take on dangerous, dirty and dull tasks.

For more than a decade, expensive ordnance robots have been the eyes and ears of bomb squads across the county, often being the first choice to tackle a tricky device.

The evolution of robot technology now has some police departments considering the use of airborne drones, cheaper versions of those used by the military in the Middle East. And there is the new generation of cheaper, easier-to-use robots such as Bulldog

Bulldog is the Toyota Corolla of law enforcement robots. While bomb squad robots can cost as much as $200,000, Bulldog was built for $10,000. It is designed to do 13 or 14 basic operations.

“It works much like a remote-controlled aircraft with a camera,” said Prizzi, one of two officers trained to guide his mechanical partner.

Prizzi financed Bulldog with contributions from local companies and a technology grant secured by the suburban Police Department about 20 miles east of Los Angeles. He said the project grew once Bieber got involved.

“The best part about this was we were able to talk to the guys who put their lives on the line and find out what they really wanted,” said Bieber, a mechanical engineer and founder of the Machine Lab, a Monrovia robotics company.

“They wanted it to carry a payload — a throw phone, pizza, water — to be able to climb over small obstacles like a curb and send back video, and we were able to deliver,” he said.

Bieber said the Bulldog uses 14 radio frequency channels to operate its circuits and motors.

A low front-mounted infrared camera allows the operator to see in the dark and under cars, while a camera mounted on a telescoping boom sends images from a few inches off the ground to 5 feet.

The camera movement gives Bulldog, named for West Covina High’s mascot, a praying mantis-like quality.

“It can see a car plate six blocks away,” Bieber said. “And unlike even the best officer, it provides a perfect description of anyone coming into view.”

What began as an exercise in philanthropy has opened new doors for Bieber. His firm is best known for building remote-controlled fighting machines such as “El Diablo” for television shows.

Now the firm is working on small law enforcement robots and designs for cheaper robots for the military, he said.

Bulldog has yet to be tested under fire, but has performed well in SWAT exercises.

Confronted with a fake terrorist armed with a bomb holding hostages on a bus, it searched for secondary devices and delivered a phone to the suspect, along with sodas and pizzas for the hostages.

“Without Bulldog, it would have been three or four of our guys out there in the line of fire doing all that work,” Prizzi said.

The SWAT-Bot is finished and in the news already? Wow, that’s what I get for being cooped indoors with my computer for so long.

Anyway, since I seem to be the only one from 968 still browsing these forums, I’ll chip in some comments.

Yes, as far as I remembered, the robot started as a side-project for RAWC in the summer, after Officer Prizzi brought it up as a potential project for the team to get involved in during the off-time. It would hone the team’s skills, help the local police department, and maybe generate some nice publicity – always good things. Several members of the 968 team helped to design and build the robot during the time.

The whole thing, of course, was wholly dissassociated from FIRST operations. The funds to finance the project, for instance, was rounded through various donations through the hard efforts from Mr. Prizzi himself. Also, none of the regular team mentors worked on it (at least, I didn’t, anyway). Instead, some other very knowledgeable folks (such as Zack Bieber) helped along with team.

All-in-all, it’s good to see the Bulldog finally roll out. I’ll have to check it out personally, sometime. That is, if I can get off this blasted computer.

Wow, amazing, I wish our team could do that, just one question though, can it hang? :wink:

Maybe. How heavy is it and how strong is the bar? lol

From just looking at the picture it looks like the bot is extremely durable. Which, when you’re in a dangerous situation, is always good.

yes the Swat Bot “Bulldog” is very durable I am a mentor for the team and I was on the build team for that project sadly the project took 2-1/2 years to finish but we did get it done and a big thanks goes out to mike, he really helped us out, I really didn’t think FIRST was going to get a hold of this but personally I’m glade it did. :smiley:

here is the list of functions on our swat bot
ULLDOG Tactical Robot Specs

Power: 24 Volt Gel Lead Acid Batteries

  (2 hours run time)

Weight: 150 pounds
Speed: 6 ft/sec
Vision: 1 Color 200X Zoom Pan/Tilt Camera 1 Color/B&W Infrared camera Audio is also transmitted to operator via Microphone

Arm: Shoulder 120 degrees

Elbow 180 degrees

Wrist UP/DOWN 180 degrees

Wrist rotate 270 degrees

Gripper open/close

Reach of 40 inches

Can lift 50 pounds retracted

Can lift 15 pounds fully extended

Can open doors

Scissor Lift 30 inches of lift for Pan/Tilt/Zoom Camera
Lights 2 x 40 watt halogen flood lights

Please actually read the thread before you ask a silly question.