Ever get that feeling that someone’s watching you? Well, imagine if you could figure out when someone’s looking at you, even if they’re over a kilometer away. How far is a kilometer? Look at the picture above of Central Park in New York. It’s like being able to see across the width of that, from left to right.
Well, now we’ve got a way to keep an eye on anyone who’s keeping an eye on us! See, U.S. defense inventors that work for the Pentagon – our main military headquarters in Arlington, Virginia – spend lots of time and money creating robots that can keep an eye on troublemakers all over the world.
But, what if the bad guys are looking at us, too? What if there’s just as many of them zooming in on us from a kilometer away to see what we’re doing? No problem! A San Diego company called Torrey Pines Logic is making a robot sidekick that can let us know when we’re being watched.
How in the world can the robot do this? It shoots laser pulses that can find optical lenses – the glass on the end of binoculars, telescopes, and other long-distance sight devices. The machine sends these lasers in every direction, turning its head around and giving 360-degree coverage, and when the lasers bounce off optical lenses, they come back with a warning, like, “Hey, over there, someone’s watching you!” Ok, maybe they don’t say that, but they do help keep our soldiers safe.
But what about other kinds of glass like windows and broken bottles, you may ask? Not to worry, this robot sidekick is very smart; it knows the difference between optical lenses and regular glass. It’s not going to warn you of an attack if it sees a Coca Cola bottle in the desert.
Images courtesy of Torrey Pines Logic