Page 1 article text (OCR)
iT 1 Journal Home Edition — 25 Cents Salina, Kansas MONDAY April 1,1985 114th year — No. 91 — 18 Pages Photos by Craig Chandler Amid laughter, Topo introduces itself to (left to right) David Evans, Cindy Lang, David Fair and Mischelle O'Farrell. Professor brings the force with him By DAVID CLOUSTON Staff Writer A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there existed a gold mechanical man C3PO and his short pal R2D2. They ended up on a planet full of trees and were befriended by live teddy bears called Ewoks. C3PO and R2D2, meet Mr. and Mrs. Topo. Manufactured by the California-based An- drobot Corp., the Topos more closely resemble the Michelin Man than the garbage-can shape of R2D2. They roll around on tires the size of a Big Wheel tricycle. And they can talk, although they say only what a computer tells them. "They're amazing in some ways but disappointing in others," said Scott McCoy, Barton County Community College data processing instructor. McCoy demonstrated the robots' capabilities at both Salina high schools Thursday, along with a smaller robot known as Fred — which stands for Friendly Robotic Educational Device. The Topos are controlled with an Apple II microcomputer and an infrared sending unit. Fred is operated by a hand-held remote control and can print numbers and letters The Topos are a far cry from industrial robots now common in large manufacturing plants, McCoy said. "These are more general purpose robots," he said. "They can be used to do house- . Scott McCoy holds Fred, the "baby of his robot family." keeping, where the environment changes constantly. The robots you see in factories are single purpose machines programed to do a specific task in a very controlled environment." But even though they could vacuum your living room and bring you the evening paper, don't plan on eliminating everyday household drudgery just yet. That's because the machines are expensive, $1,595 each. McCoy said he views the robots as educational devices. "I bought one because number one, they're a novelty, and number two, it gives me the opportunity to see how things work in a robot," he said. "I'm kind of an electronics freak." Robots are more interesting to work with than a standard microcomputer, McCoy said, making it easier to teach students computer skills. "I can keep their attention longer by telling them how a robot communicates," he said. "Movement and communication are the two most important functions of a robot." His students also write computer programs for the robots. "It gives them a more realistic view of what robots are about," McCoy said. One of the biggest challenges faced by robot programmers is directing robots to deal with everyday situations, which are prone to change. "There are two approaches to that," he said. "The first is you can try to anticipate every single change that might effect them or you can teach them basic skills and tell them what might happen — that's known as artifical intelligence." Computers with artifical intelligence often are used in oil exploration, he said. Mechanical waiter will do it your way HUNT VALLEY, Md. (AP) — A hamburger chain has cooked up an idea that goes far beyond a new sandwich or shake — a six- armed robot that prepares meals to order, takes money and makes change, even sweeps the floor and clears tables. The robot's voice-activated eyes will look at customers when they order. And, wearing the chain's uniform and a smile, it will sing if the food takes more than 15 seconds to arrive. This marriage of fast food and high tech will come within a year at a major burger chain outlet in New York City, according to Peter Hughes. Hughes is the creator of the automated hamburger helper and president of Hughes International Inc., which has offices in this Baltimore suburb and in London. Hughes won't reveal which international restaurant chain will debut his robot, but he said it will be sometime between December and February in one of the chain's current midtown Manhattan outlets. Hughes has been sworn to secrecy under threat of losing the contract. "It's a very big publicity stunt," he said. Four full-time designers will spend the next two to three months piecing together the technology to create the robot, and Hughes will oversee every step pf the project at his plant. The prototype should be ready within four months. "We have the technology," Hughes said. "It's only a matter of applying it." The robot will scurry around the U-shaped restaurant on a track. Its arms extend six to eight feet in all directions and function independently. Market research is under way to determine whether the robot's plastic face and synthesized voice should be male or female, but it's fairly certain both black and white versions of the robot will be produced. Its mind is a computer programmed to detect overcooked hamburgers (and throw them away), scan floors and countertops for spills (and wipe them away), make change and take instruction from customers (such as, "no pickles") in the order in which they sit on chairs equipped with electronic sensors. If it's Christmas time, the robot will sing carols. On Independence Day, the national anthem. At other times, the hamburger chain's advertising jingle. The $100,000 robot would have a seven-year lifespan if used 24 hours a day, as planned by the restaurant, Hughes said. "I'm most anxious not to appear as an evil genius," Hughes said. "I would not try to undermine the infrastructure of employment, and I don't believe for a minute that we're doing this." Large turnout marks election in El Salvador 11. r> \#i*+ SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — Salvadorans defied leftist guerrilla threats and turned out in large numbers Sunday to vote in national elections that were a referendum on President Jose Napoleon Duarte's government. One independent exit poll indicated Duarte's moderate Christian Democrats were running strongly and might win a majority in the National Assembly. Duarte At stake were the 60 assembly seats and the mayoral offices in all 262 communities of this small Central American country, which has suffered through 5% years of civil war between rebels and the U.S.- backed government. Only scattered incidents of violence were reported Sunday. Vote counting began immediately after the polls closed Sunday evening, but official results were not expected before midweek. An exit poll commissioned by Spanish International Network, a Miami-based Spanish-language television service, indicated the Christian Democrats could win 32 or 33 assembly seats for a majority. It gave the right-wing coalition from 22 to 25 seats, with the others going to minor parties. In the outgoing assembly, the Christian Democrats held 24 seats, the largest single bloc, but the conservative coalition had 34, with two held by a small party not allied with either side. The rightists, who were able to block many of Duarte's reform proposals, had hoped to win 40 seats for the required two-thirds to over- ide a presidential veto. A spokesman for Spanish International Network said the poll was conducted by 300 interviewers who took opinions by secret ballot from some 12,000 voters as they left the polls around the country. The network's exit poll in the presidential runoff election last May came within four-tenths of one percent of the official results. Network officials said Sunday's poll had a margin of error of 4 percent. In the May election, official results were not known for three days. There are 2.7 million eligible voters. Scattered incidents of violence were reported, but there were no major clashes between the opposing forces. Military officials and witnesses gave these reports: A Roman Catholic seminary student, Juan Rene Miranda, was shot and killed and another student was wounded as they drove to San Gerardo, 110 miles northeast of the capital. A church official said the attack was by rebels. In Usulutan province, a Treasury Police agent died when a mine he was trying to deactivate exploded near Jucuapa, 65 miles east of the capital. Leftists boycotted the elections, as they have in the past, saying their candidates would not be safe from right-wing death squads. South African police fire at funeral crowd JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) — Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas into a crowd of blacks leaving a funeral Sunday near the southern city of Port Elizabeth. Witnesses said one man was killed and 10 people were wounded. Police Lt. Henry Beck said police used "rubber bullets, tear gas and shotguns" in Zwide black township. He said he knew of no casualties. But witnesses said a 28-year-old man was killed. Several black reporters and other witnesses said a crowd of undetermined size left the funeral, held for blacks slain in recent violence, and were walking to the township bus terminal when police in armored personnel carriers opened fire. "There were some incidents of stone-throwing by the crowd," said one reporter. "One youngster picked up a tear gas cannister and threw it back at police." The identity of the man reported killed was not known, nor was the seriousness of the reported injuries. Hospitals in the area said they did not treat any victims, but blacks injured in riots generally shun hospitals for fear of being arrested by police. Four people, including a 9-year- old boy, were buried in the Zwide funeral. They perished in clashes with police, and in attacks by blacks against other blacks accused of fronting for the white-minority government. Six miles inland, two riot victims were buried without incident outside the town of Uitenhage as hundreds of police and army troops stood by, according to police and witnesses. On March 21 police shot and killed 19 blacks near Uitenhage, charging their demonstration had turned violent. Black witnesses denied a police account which said demonstrators were armed with stones and weapons. The witnesses said police attacked without justification. Soldiers and police manned key intersections near the Zwide township and Uitenhage funerals, witnesses said. In Uitenhage, civilian police reservists with shotguns lined the streets as vehicles ferried blacks from the burial area through a three-block white section to a black slum. Police frequently have called out the military following a nationwide outburst of anti-apartheid rioting in black communities eight months ago. More than 250 people have been killed since last summer by unofficial count. Funerals of riot victims, attended by thousands of mourners, may touch off more violence. Today Inside Classified 14-16 Entertainment 18 Fun 17 Living Today 6, 7 Local/Kansas 3 Nation/World 5 On the Record 9 Opinion 4 Sports 11-13 Weather 9 Weather KANSAS - Mostly clear and warmer today, with highs in the 50s and 60s and lows in the 30s to 40s. Highs Tuesday should be 65 to 75. Law enforcement officials look for key to cut car thefts By LAURIE OSWALD , Staff Writer Kansas lawmen, as well as lawmen nationally, are concerned about the rising rate of automobile theft, a $3 billion industry nationwide in 1983. In Salina, the number of purloined cars has not increased dramatically in recent years, but the scope of the national problem was driven home in February when local law enforcement officers uncovered a car theft ring with ties to Kansas City. Nine automobiles were recovered and nine suspects were arrested. In Emporia, police last month uncovered an automobile "chop shop" "0, operation, in which stolen automobiles were disassembled and the parts were sold. Sgt. Jim Gilchrist, a detective in the auto theft division of the Topeka Police Department who helped with the Salina theft ring investigation, said smaller cities are prime storehouses for cars stolen from bigger cities. In the Salina case, cars stolen from Topeka, Olathe and Independence, Mo., were recovered. Cars found in the Emporia operation allegedly were stolen from Wichita, Ottawa and Oklahoma City. Gilchrist said car theft activity is increasing because it is lucrative. It can be difficult for police to solve automobile thefts. Typically, only about half of the cars stolen are recovered. In Kansas, only the Topeka, Wichita and Kansas City police departments have car theft divisions. In Salina, Police Capt. Jim Huff said that that although the police department does not have an auto theft division, the department nonetheless does recover about 95 percent of the cars reported stolen. In 1984, 59 cars were reported stolen. Huff said the recovery rate is high because few vehicles stolen in small communities are disassembled. Stolen vehicles left intact re much easier to trace, he said. In Kansas, 5,028 cars were stolen in 1984, up from 4,875 vehicles stolen in 1983, according to Tom Kelly, director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. Kelly said thieves typically try to cover their tracks in one of three ways: switching the vehicle identification number, using a chop shop to disassemble the car or using a technique called a "body swing," wherein a stolen vehicle body is placed over the frame, engine and transmission of a salvaged vehicle. In the Salina car theft ring case, vehicle identification numbers allegedly were switched. Typically, the thief takes an identification number from a salvage vehicle of the same year and model and places it on the stolen vehicle. "This theory is that the car's parts are worth more than the car in one piece, because of the demand for oarts," Gilchrist said. Gilchrist said many car thefts could be easily prevented. Many thefts occur, he said, because owners invite theft by leaving their keys in the car, he said. Sgt. Doug Miller, auto theft detective in Kansas City, Mo., said leaving car doors unlocked is another invitation to theft. Newer-model cars are becoming easier to start without keys because the locking mechanisms on steering wheels can be easily picked, he said.