High schools students at Olathe Northwest High School in Olathe, Kansas have become something of a high-tech call center for the local police department. Four years ago, a robot used by the Olathe Police Department was rendered inoperable and has been sitting idle ever since. The robot, called SWAT BOT, remained in a closet for the last four years because the company that originally made the heavy piece of equipment was out of business and others contacted to try to get the robot up and running were unable to find the source of the problem.
The student resource office at the Olathe Police Department then got a novel idea, ‘why not give a call over to the engineering teacher at Olathe High School and see if the students might like to have a shot at fixing SWAT BOT’. One of the students, Jordan Brouwer was particularly useful in getting the robot fixed because his brother is an engineering student in college, working on robotics, and he was home in Kansas for the holidays and lent the kids at the high school a hand.
Jordan’s brother was able to easily understand the problem with the robot because he is working on defense type robots in school in Boston so the inner workings of the SWAT BOT were easy enough for him to understand and to then diagnose the problem for the high school volunteers. According to Brouwer, the remote was not connecting to the main brain in the robot. After a little rummaging through some home electronics lying around the students were able to construct a new antenna system that would make contact with the robot and get it rolling again.
For it’s part, the Olathe Police Department has been trying to get the robot fixed for months but they haven’t been able to find anyone that knew anything about this robot. Luckily for them they turned to the local high school, which just happened to have the perfect resource, a former student that is now working on high tech robotics in college. The cost? Well the police only had to foot the bill for new batteries.
The police were smart to ask the school for some assistance. I’m not sure where Olathe is in Kansas but you would think that over the past four years someone at the police department might figure out that perhaps a local college might be able to assist them with their technical problem. You can bet that if they need any help in the future they’ll be calling on the kids…..rather than chasing them out of the park for a change.