The New Technology Revitalizing Safety

The Sound Grenade in blue

Forget the unease of walking to your car after a late night of classes or festivities. RoboCopp is a tech start up from Sam Mansen and Jill turner, who share a vision of preventing crime before it happens.

“In the future technology will be so advanced that the probability of you getting caught in a crime is a 100 percent,” says Turner. “That’s how advanced technology is. Our vision is kind of this utopian future where crime is non-existent, and that is kind of where the name comes from.”

According to Mansen the name has no relation to popular film of the same title, RoboCop. RoboCopp seeks to combine “a robot and police officer,” says Mansen. “Our futuristic technology can contribute so much to crime prevention that eventually you’re going to have a crime rate of zero percent. We really think that will be the case. Sensors will be so advanced, cameras will be so advanced, guns will be so advanced that your chances of getting caught anytime you commit a crime are 100 percent. In other words, getting away with a crime — a violent crime that is — is zero percent.” Mansen predicts this future happening within twenty years. When asked how this might be possible, Mansen explains the two factors of committing a crime: something to gain and “getting away with it”. RoboCopp’s focus on eliminating the chancing of getting away with a crime is what they believe to be the best way of eradicating it altogether. Mansen calls attention to Singapore with the deterrence method via increased surveillance.

“When you look at police officers who carry body cams, complaints have gone down by over 80 percent. That is no surprise. No surprise whatsoever. Technology is nudging us into behaving morally.”

“I think [technology] is getting cheaper and cheaper every day. It’s getting more affordable for most countries to have these basic technological crime prevention measures. I think most countries will be able to afford basic surveillance. Every year it gets cheaper for us to make body cams and personal alarms. Economically speaking it will be very affordable.”

The personal alarm from RoboCopp is a discreet device. If you saw it, you might mistake it for a USB drive with a square face. However, the top of the “USB” is a pin that you would pull to release a 120 db alarm, “which can be heard up to 300 feet away,” says Turner. Although the device is open to the public, many students have taken to the device, carrying the Sound Grenade on their keychains. Once the pin is removed, the alarm will sound for 30 minutes until it eventually dies out. The device is reusable within the 30 minutes, meaning after the pin is removed, you can reinsert the pin and save it for later use. Once the battery is depleted, the device would need to be replaced. According to Mansen, if used in an emergency, RoboCopp will replace the device, and if you never use the Sound Grenade the device should last up to five years.

“Recently a UC Berkley student was walking to her car from a train station and two men approached asking for her money and claiming they had a gun. And she just had the device on her keys and pulled it. They just take off running immediately. We’ve had a lot of these kinds of stories where students are directly confronted with someone or they’re being followed and they feel nervous. They pull the alarm and they see people running away.”

The device runs for $15.99, which is a part of the company goal to provide affordable personal safety for students. RoboCopp is currently working on their next device, the Robo Ranger which is an upgraded Sound Grenade that alerts the police from wherever you are.

“When you make someone aware that they’ll get caught in what they are doing, that’s the best deterrence,” says Turner.

The sound grenade is available for purchase via the RoboCopp website or Amazon.

Letter from the Editor: Oct. Issue 2015

We hear it everyday: newspapers, just like books, are becoming obsolete, overshadowed by online articles, instant and immediately accessible with just the tap of a fingertip. Gone are the days of patiently waiting for the morning paper only to discover the latest tragedy or newest world development. Now we know about it before it is even over. Having instant access to all forms of knowledge is a wonderful gift that I would never give up, but there’s something about the smell of newsprint and the dust it leaves on your fingers, just as feeling the starchy softness of a book page creates a physical connection to the story, that just isn’t the same when all you have to do is tap a button.

As a Publications Design student, I know this feeling all too well. I fell in love with designing for print a little too late. This reality cannot be ignored. As I browse job descriptions for graphic designers, the requirement of ad- vanced knowledge of HTML and CSS is becoming more and more prominent. But no matter how many times I see a publication in its digital form—which is typically over and over as I scrutinize every inch before sending it to the printer—there is always something magical about holding the final print in my hand. The smell of the ink, the roughness of the paper, and the magical transition from screen to paper all become part of something beautiful.

As I’ve begun to explore the visual arts in its many forms, I’ve taken note of the current fascination both de- signers and the general public have with letterpress. This technology for printing dates back to the fifteenth century and creates a physical imprint from the block letters left behind on the paper. Once considered an imperfection of the process, the slight impression left in the paper is now often sought after for its distinctly nostalgic look. I’m beginning to realize that in our current world, where digital images and words are constantly thrown in our face, there’s still a secret desire in our hearts for the tangible.

Although The UB Post is accessible online and we are strengthening our online presence step by step, we still publish a printed issue monthly. Next time you’re on your way to class, pick one up and feel the dusty texture of the newsprint as you take a glance. Take solace in the soft colors of the photos, different from the bright screen that assaults your eyes. Let the classic letterforms guide your eye as you indulge in a story about your community at UB. It’s not just cold, hard news; let yourself become enveloped in the experience of reading The UB Post.


Nicole Hovermale


UB Post_ Oct2015 Issue