Northern Kentucky University students build 'SWAT bot' for Newport police

Posted at 6:54 PM, Sep 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-28 20:12:55-04

NEWPORT, Ky. -- Students at Northern Kentucky University are seeing a classroom project come to life.

Over the past few years, students have been building a remote control "robot" for the Newport Police Department. The first version of the "SWAT bot" is now done.

The basic purpose of the robot is to go into dangerous situations so officers don't have to, according to Lt. Paul Kunkel. A robot like this can save officers' lives.

"We can get as close as we want without putting an officer in jeopardy or in danger," he said.

Police received a $9,000 grant from Duke Energy to pay for the materials and software used to build the robot. More than 60 students from different NKU departments collaborated to design and build the machine.

"I know all of the faculty and staff and students at NKU are pleased and proud when they know there's a piece of NKU going into a dangerous situation and protecting our police officers," NKU College of Informatics Chair Frank Braun said.

Police gave a demonstration for some of the students and staff who worked on it. Bandar Sweilem was one of them.

"I was really happy to see it work in front of me, Sweilem said.

The robot comes with some benefits beyond protection, Kunkel said.

"It creates a relationship that's going to be ongoing and further development," he said. "It doesn't end here, because it has built a relationship around the community."