Four-legged robotic 'dog' joins the Hawaii police force
[YouTube Screenshot/Fair Use/Credit: KHON2]

If you’re homeless in Hawaii and seeking temporary shelter, you should expect a visit from Spot the police dog soon. It will scan your retina to make sure you don’t have a fever.

Wait. Since when can canines scan eyes to determine if you are sick? Well, Spot is no ordinary dog. ‘Spot’ is part of a new commercial category of robots that move about with animal-like agility.

Police officials insist that the four-legged machines are just tools like drones or remote-controlled wheeled robots. They’re meant to keep emergency responders safe dealing with dangerous situations.

But advocacy groups are concerned that police departments are rushing to buy these types of robots without regard to possible invasive, dehumanizing, or even aggressive applications.

The Honolulu Police Department (HPD) recently spent upwards of $150,000 in federal pandemic relief money to purchase a robot for use at a homeless tent city near the airport.

The robot has protected officers, residents, and shelter staff by scanning body temperatures as a homeless shelter where people could get tested for COVID-19 and could quarantine themselves, said Acting Lt. Joseph O’Neal of the HPD.

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