Everyone’s favorite crime fighting human-turned-android was always going to be based somewhat in fantasy. Even as technology advances, ethical and moral boundaries create huge difficulties in truly merging man with machine. However, this doesn’t mean some of the imagined future isn’t coming true.
Prosthetic limbs have made huge advancements in both aesthetics and function. Legs can be supplanted with blades to run, and neurological mapping creates more nimble and dexterous replacement fingers each year. In the military, the Lockheed Martin HULC and Raytheon XOS 2 are exoskeletons designed to create soldiers with super-strength. Unfortunately, they haven’t yet reached a level where one would consider them an overall enhancement.
Circumventing the human element altogether, the company Knightscope has a prototype named K5 designed to scope out criminal activity and monitor situations. Dome shaped and mounted on wheels, this computer-cop would be placed in communities to faithfully trundle the streets, gathering all the data it needs to produce a statistical prediction of crime. It can read license plates, conduct thermal imaging and recognize faces. Thankfully, unlike the gun-happy OCP mega-machines Robocop finds himself combating, these robots have no weaponry. Instead, they rely on the presence of their cameras to deter crime.
Meanwhile in Brazil, the iRobot 510 PackBot will be rolled out for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Designed for war situations, the bot is the next step up from its bomb disposing cousin and boasts the ability to climb stairs and function underwater.