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Owner Didn't Program Him : 'Hero' the Watchdog Robot Wasn't--Thief Took Him Too

August 23, 1985|United Press International

ARLINGTON, Va. — "Hero," a robot who is supposed to scare off burglars by saying: "Warning, intruder! I have summoned the police!", was caught sleeping on the job and stolen while his owners were on vacation, police said today.

Tom and Priscilla Nelson banished Hero, without his programming, to the basement of their home two weeks ago and left on vacation.

Unable to blurt his mechanical warning, Hero became the silent victim of a burglary, stolen along with a television set, video recorder and jewelry worth several thousand dollars.

The police found Hero, about the size of a garbage can, in a stolen car in Washington--partially disassembled, dust-covered and with dead batteries. They also recovered his instruction manual and electrical charger.

Arlington Detective Ray Spivey joked that Hero "wouldn't tell who did it."

Nelson, a biomedical engineer, said he spent 250 hours and $1,500 creating Hero, who, in addition to saying "Warning, intruder! I have summoned the police!", could repeat the phrases: "I am incapable of making a mistake; therefore, you must be wrong," and "You are very attractive for a human."

Nelson said he plans to add a mechanical arm and pincered hand so Hero can dial a phone and call the police if he's threatened again.

There are no plans to make Hero more modest.

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