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April 14, 2003

"The self-healing minefield"

DARPA, the people who thought up the Internet back in the '60s, have a new network they'd like you to know about: the "Self-Healing Minefield". Follow the link for a great Flash animation of what this means. The Register has this helpful story about the development, which is both more and less sinister than it sounds.

As it turns out, these are anti-tank mines, far less hated then anti-personnel mines by anti-mine activists worldwide. Anti-tank mines only trigger when a tank-- not a 5-year-old years after the conflict-- trips its trigger.

The self-healing bit is cool, but somehow terrifying: if the minefield is breached (i.e., a passable lane is created) the networked mines actually "hop" to new positions using rocket thrusters. In tech speak, the minefield "self-reconfigures on the fly and in real-time." IBM talks a lot about "self-healing computers" that fix their own bugs, but somehow these mines make me think of Terminator, with its warning about the day the computers wake up and decide to reconfigure humans out of the pictures.

Posted by jay at April 14, 2003 10:02 AM | TrackBack
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