The San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals bought a "security robot" to harass homeless people at its Mission District offices, a move that the city has banned and threatened $1,000/day fines for.
The SPCA called the robot "K9" and said it would prevent car break-ins. Mostly it was aimed at harassing homeless people who live in nearby tents. They claim the robot successfully evicted the homeless people from those sidewalks, presumably getting them good, sustainable homes and just merely moving them to another part of the city (right? right?).
Before the homeless people were chased off, they flung a tarp over the robot, knocked it over and covered its sensors with barbecue sauce.
On Dec. 1, the Department of Public Works sent the SPCA an email saying that the robot is operating in the public right-of-way "without a proper approval.” SPCA would have to stop using the robot on sidewalks or request a proper permit, according to the DPW email reviewed by the Business Times.
Scarlett said the SPCA stopped using the robot on the sidewalks and handed the issue over to the robot’s maker, Mountain View-based Knightscope, for further discussion with the city. Knightscope didn't respond to a request for comment about the status of those talks.
The robot is a K5 unit and has a top speed of three miles per hour, according to Knightscope’s website. The units are more than five feet tall and weigh 400 pounds. They are equipped with four cameras, “each capable of reading up to 300 license plates per minute” and sending alerts when trespassers or people on a “blacklist” are in an area.
Security robot that deterred homeless encampments in the Mission gets rebuke from the city [Alisha Green/San Francisco Business Times]
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has announced the winners of this year's Pioneer Award (rechristened the "Barlow" in honor of EFF co-founder John Perry Barlow: sf writer William Gibson, anthropologist danah boyd, and activists Oakland Privacy.
Earlier this week, I bought tickets to see a concert in September (Gogol Bordello!) and wanted to see the view from our seats. I discovered that the venue, San Francisco’s legendary Warfield, has a terrific 360-degree virtual tour of the entire theater, backstage and all. It’s a bit of a rabbit hole but totally worth […]
Last weekend, long-distance runner Lenny Maughan ran 28.93 miles through the hilly streets of San Francisco to complete this mapped portrait of Frida Kahlo. Visible through the Strava fitness app, his “Frida Run” took him six hours and eight minutes to finish and was carefully planned out before he left his house. This isn’t his […]
Want to keep the dentist away? A little tooth care at morning and night isn’t bad, but it won’t keep the stains from smoking or fried foods at bay for long. If you enjoy your food and want to avoid the consequences, an upgrade from that old analog toothbrush can make a huge difference. Among […]
If your office works at all, it uses Microsoft Office. Those icons for Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook are as familiar around some workplaces as the coffee machine. So familiar, in fact, that they get taken for granted – and rarely used to their full potential. Whether you need a crash course in the essential tools […]
It’s a great time to be a maker. 3D printers are on store shelves for anyone to buy, and coder kits like Arduino and Raspberry Pi are letting kids as young as 9 or 10 dive into the Internet of Things. Here are a few examples of our favorite tech toys, all priced low enough […]