Toddler Trampled By 300-Pound Mall Security Robot

A small child was left with a swollen, scraped foot after being run over by a robot built in California's Silicon Valley to help with shopping mall security.


A California toddler is suffering from a swollen foot and multiple scrapes after being attacked by a five-foot-tall, 300-pound security robot at a shopping center.

At just 16 months old, Harwin Cheng endured a terrifying encounter at the Stanford Shopping Center located in Palo Alto, California.

“The robot hit my son’s head and he fell down — facing down on the floor — and the robot did not stop and it kept moving forward,” Harwin’s mom, Tiffany Teng, told local reporters.

According to Teng, the machine was set to run over Harwin’s other foot, but her husband swiftly pulled the young child away.

The large robots are manufactured by a Bay Area company called Knightscope. They are supposed to use lasers, thermal imaging sensors, 360 video, air quality sensors, and a microphone, among other features to detect criminal activity.

If anything suspicious arises, the robots are programmed to alert the local human authorities, according to The Huffington Post.

It’s probably safe to assume that the toddler wasn’t engaging in any criminal activity when he was attacked, which means the robots’ functionality probably needs a bit more tweaking before interacting with the public.

A Knightscope spokesperson, Stacy Dean Stephens, maintains that this isolated incident does not mean the robots are unsafe.

“This is a horrific accident, but we believe the technology and the machines are incredibly safe and we will continue to do our best to make sure that they are,” Stephens said.

The robots have already been in use at the shopping center for nearly a year, but in light of this incident, an investigation has been launched and the robots have been docked.

This nightmarish ordeal is a prime example of how technology meant to be helpful can also be harmful. 

Banner Photo Credit: Twitter @TheRealFuture

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