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Hungry for more stories on science, culture and technology?Check out Brain Food: Insights and Discoveries from Northern Arizona. From ground breaking scientific research to global music projects, Brain Food profiles some of the unique projects happening in the region and the interesting people behind them. While there are no new episodes of Brain Food, we will continue to maintain the archive here.

Brain Food: Arizona’s First Security Robot

Bonnie Stevens

Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort has deployed a unique security officer—nearly five tall, 400 pounds, and fully automated. The Knightscope K5 ADM or Autonomous Data Machine is the first security robot in Arizona. It looks like a taller version of “Star Wars’” R2 D2, and makes space music sounds as it rolls around the parking lot at three miles per hour.

Guests and employees seem to love it. It’s constantly being stopped to have selfies taken. People are taking pictures. I think it’s actually a draw.”

Credit Bonnie Stevens
Twin Arrows Cage Cashier Cheryl Bigeye and Cage Supervisor Alta Kinsel welcome security robot K5.

That’s Security Director Joe Gustafson. He says K5 can be programmed to greet customers, promote concerts, give weather warnings, even speak Navajo. But, it’s main purpose is to keep guests, employees and the casino safe.

It’s basically meant to be a deterrent to criminal activity. Plus it’s got two-way communication. So, if we see something on camera we can talk through the unit to whoever’s out there and tell them, ‘Hey, you can’t do that,’ or ‘You need to move along,’ or whatever the case may be,” he says.

Radar, sonar, LIDAR and thermal imaging sensors keep K5 from running people and walls. It can detect humans in places where they’re not supposed to be, and read license plates.

The reason we got this is because it can gather vast more amounts of information than a human can. For example, it can scan 300 license plates a minute. It can tell us, once we download the hot sheets from the state and all that, it can tell us if one’s been stolen, one’s involved in an Amber Alert, that type thing, and send that back to us,” he says.

Gustafson says K5 protects officers by being first on the scene to check out suspicious activity. The battery-powered robot also knows when it’s running low and sends itself back to its charging pad.

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