A Florida robotics lab is working on a real-life 'Robocop' - a mobile robot which can spot crime, piloted by a disabled police officer.
The lab is currently working with two custom-built robots which cost $500,000 (£309,800), on loan from a U.S. military department's 'Urban Warrior' programme.
The idea of the research at Florida International University is to allow disabled police officers to still serve on the front line.
It could also allow disabled combat veterans to pilot such 'Telebots'.
The military-grade machines would patrol areas such as ports and nuclear facilities, and would allow officers to 'see' through video cameras.
The 'Robocops' are the brainchild of Jeremy Robbins, a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves, who funded the research with $20,000 (£12,400) of his own money.
He also secured the loan of two military-grade robots from the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) valued at nearly $500,000.
While serving in Afghanistan, Robins had an idea to help disabled police and military veterans reconnect with the work force while simultaneously combating crime.
His idea is to use telerobotics, the combination of telepresence and robots, to allow disabled police and military vets to serve as patrol officers.
“We want to use telebots to give disabled military and police veterans an opportunity to serve in law enforcement,” explained Robins.
“With telebots, a disabled police officer will be capable of performing many, if not most, of the functions of a normal patrol office – interacting with the community, patrolling, responding to 911 calls, issuing citations. Telerobotics has already begun to make its way into the worlds of medicine, business and the military. Extending it into law enforcement is simply the natural progression of things.”
“We’ll be using a technology to allow a person to perform a job they would otherwise be unable to perform or not permitted to perform,” he said.
“These men and women joined the police and armed forces in order to serve their country, but now because of injury that ability has been diminished. I don’t know how to fix a severed spine, but restoring that ability to serve, and specifically the ability to serve in law enforcement—that I think we can fix.”