Can you shoot me now? Robots to extend wireless networks on battlefields

The Wi-Fi robots are coming! The Wi-Fi robots are coming! Yes, those wacky cats at DARPA, the U.S. military's technology R&D center, are at it again. This time, though, the idea is a little more plausible than some of their other ideas (like, say, cyborg butterflies). On a battlefield, wireless access can get a little spotty, so DARPA came up with the LANdroid, a roving wireless access point. Advancing troops would drop one of these bots wherever they'd need to extend a network, with each LANdroid seeking out the best place to act as a node. And if one of them has the unfortunate luck of rolling straight into the enemy, the other nodes will automatically move around make up for its loss.

Each LANdroid is the size of your palm and costs about $100. DARPA hasn't built them yet, but is excited enough about the project to publicly solicit proposals. A self-creating roving wireless network would be a cool idea for disaster-relief scenarios, too, so let's hope this is one DARPA project that gets some traction.

The Register, via Oh Gizmo!