The EM-J1 Ernie Protection Robot is an inexpensive personal protection device. It became available in YE 33.
The Ernie, also called the Suitcase Robot, is a small and extremely portable product designed primarily for personal protection. It's capable of folding into a compact package that can easily be carried by hand. When it deploys into its mobile form it resembles a vaguely humanoid shape with spindly limbs and slender body with no head. While able to withstand some amount of small arms, the Ernie is unable to match any serious firepower.
The robot appears somewhat humanoid, albeit lacking a head. The design is minimalist with only bars and pistons for limbs and the outer covering of its suitcase forming crude armour on its limbs and torso. It has three storage bays inside its “chest” area that can be opened and used by its hands. It has human hands, although very mechanical and basic feet, designed to function inside human environments.
Toughness: Able to survive a few hits some small arms such as micro pistols and most pistol rounds with enough range, however, a close range hit with a shotgun blast or rifle hit will likely severely damage the robot if it hits. Direct hits from extremely explosive weapons will likely not leave much of the robot left.
On the scale of its direct competitors, such as the Jimmy, the Ernie is simple, cheap, and even more disposable. However the Ernie's brains are seemingly overdeveloped for their use, able to recognize faces, keep track of crowds and networks, store thousands of skilled procedures including first aid, and can even make independent tactical decisions.
Their lack of armour and the seemingly gimmicky utility of their secondary mode make them unsuited for heavy combat. Instead, they're used in the civilian world where their compact size, high cognitive capacity and body shape enhance their functions. They most often appear as a cheap form of standby security or as part of a bodyguard retinue for VIPs.
While they have no means of directly expressing human emotion, even their voice is monotone, they have been known to express certain reactions to situations, some of the robots are even accused of deliberately sulking in their boxed form. However, in the realm beyond human sight and hearing, these drones function on their own encrypted network within the cooperative set purchased by the owner. Technicians usually report high traffic through that small network near constantly, almost as if the separate machines were 'chatting'.
When in suitcase form, the robots resemble one foot long, hexagonal containers and even include a carry handle on top. Due to the nature of their construction whatever decal the robots armour is given will appear on the exterior of the case. On one end of the case the robots sensor cluster is visible, peeking out although sometimes they may cover it with a spare panel simply for protective or storage purposes. Note, despite popular belief, the robot is not able to shuffle around while in this mode. The little box is not getting closer every time you look away.
When the machine switches to its primary mode it very quickly stands up and is able to reach its chest stored weapons, usually within two seconds. Standing at about 3'6“ tall with no head these robots only have the most basic limbs, only two struts with simple joints and pistons for each limb. The exterior of the suitcase forms basic armour on the arms, thighs, and upper torso. The groin is a simple rotating servo with hips. It does, however, possess a full set of fingers and thumb for use of human environmental tools and equipment. Any gun or object a human can use an Ernie can likely operate as well, within reason. They're sometimes not quite tall enough to reach the Call Elevator button.
Because of this minimalist design the robot is very light and surprisingly fast. It is, however, quite vulnerable to most small arms and hopelessly outmatched by serious firepower. Carrying the robot while folded into its case mode is quite easy for all but the most petite. The Ernie is strong enough to use heavier weapons than the pistols it carries and examples have been seen, although rarely, wearing body armour on some security assignments.
When on duty Ernies prefer to be in constant communication with a security operators so their face matching technology and overwatch habits can be used to the utmost, failing that one member of the batch has been known to tail an organic member of the security force to inform them immediately. While Ernies were never designed for social aspects, many of them display certain primitive emotive actions such as only stopping in for maintenance while their preferred technician on the team is available or roster themselves to watch over certain favourite organic members of the security force. The standard Ernie has no higher cognitive programming for further socialisation with humans.
The computer on the Ernie itself is designed to be simple, efficient and economical, maxmimising battery life. With minimum moving parts the computer is able to be quite powerful without generating a lot of excess heat, it is however woefully short of full military AI's in terms of raw processing power. Because it was simpler to use a standard database of operating procedures the Ernie is, in fact, highly over qualified for its job, able to operate many different devices and weapons, including its first-aid functions.
There are a variety of patterns and colours available, however the standard is a polished white look. Although some sets have received custom decals to especially flamboyant owners, such as chrome, graffiti and even gold. Other designer colours available include Forest, Desert, Table, and Matte Black.
Seen with a variety of firearms depending on their owner and where they operate, these robots have been known to carry anything from .45 caliber pistols to Little Killers. Ernies are likely to be equipped with their owners weapon of choice, they're versatile little shooters.
Weapons must be purchased separately from the robot, this helps shave unit prices. Of course, guns are available for shipment with the robot from Emrys own wide selection of products.
Stored in a small storage compartment in the robots brestplate, this kit often comes with small food items for its human coworkers or owners comfort. The Ernies design as a bodyguard means it must be able to tend to its owner if the situation requires, keeping them alive long enough to either get them through danger or to a dedicated medical facility.
Designed as a last resort, the Ernie is designed to revive its owner forcefully should the worst happen. The device is stored under a small hatch in the lower part of the robots breastplate, it's very simple as far as examples of defibrillators go, two simple wires with soft electrodes with a weak adhesive. Of course, the device also detects heart rhythm before making the decision to shock. The device drains a fair chunk of the Ernie's battery, so it should be used sparingly.
Having been programmed with CPR procedures, the Ernie was handicapped from performing the life saving procedure simple because it lacked a pair of lungs to pump air into the receiver. Instead, the Ernie features a long plastic tube designed to be placed down the throat and enable it to pump air into and out of the patients lungs using the robots cooling fans, enough to keep the patient alive, but not exactly comfortable.
A feature thrown in from the Tamahagane side of the design team, the Ernie comes with, complimentary with every purchase, a twelve inch wakizashi made Tamahagane sword makers. The sword is stored between the struts of the robots right forearm, flicking up into the hand when needed. Although owners can, of course, swap the wakizashi for any short blade they desire, the wakizashi is the standard feature.
The Wakizashi is rated at roughly 2 personnel scale damage.
Originally designed by Emrys as home security device, after the purchase of Emrys by the Tamahagane Corporation the design was re-purposed for personal protection of their clan members and then adapted for the civilian market. Sold in batches, often with discounts for larger orders, these robots are disposable secondary security operators. Often used to dispose of bomb threats, slow down intruders, or act as general cannon fodder. These drones are not often highly valued by their owner.
In suitcase form these robots are designed to be left in either inconspicuous corners, or watching over crowds in secondary mode for possible threats. Owners are able to leave a few suitcases in the lobby of hotels as first line security, although direct guard duty is possible with the robot fully deployed and armed.