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Cisco Develops Mobile Robots for Wireless Nets 51

Posted by samzenpus
from the can-you-follow-me-now dept.
coondoggie writes "Cisco has developed a set of small smart robots, which can act as wireless communications relays, that sense when a mobile user is moving out of service range, and can follow the user to maintain connectivity. According to Dave Buster, product marketing manager for the Cisco Global Government Solutions Group, the robots can follow a user almost anywhere to maintain connectivity. Published reports said the robots were part of Cisco's "Information on the move" initiative — a wide ranging plan to secure all things wireless. Whether or not the systems has an enterprise application, it is of interest to the military and initiatives such as the Army's Future Combat Systems which uses a variety of advanced systems to achieve battleground superiority."
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Cisco Develops Mobile Robots for Wireless Nets

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  • Brilliant! (Score:1, Funny)

    by bobdotorg (598873)
    So now when I stalk my ex, I need only disguise myself as a mobile coverage extender robot.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      EX? You mean that cute girl in Gamestop that kind of smiled at you once?
  • When do I get my own robot?
  • by HateBreeder (656491) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @08:08AM (#18526655)
    I don't like the idea of cellular companies tracking my movement.

    • by whathappenedtomonday (581634) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @08:16AM (#18526677) Journal

      I don't like the idea of cellular companies tracking my movement.

      In this case, you might want to avoid cell phones altogether, because a cell phone can be located using triangulation [al911.org].

      • Arent there services online that do this already? I could of sworn you could locate a cell phone on the internet , but i cant find anything about it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by AlHunt (982887)
      >I don't like the idea of cellular companies tracking ...

      It's hard for them not to - turn your phone on, it hits the closest tower and they know where you are. Move around, you jump from tower to tower and they still know where you are.
    • Your movement is being tracked on the internet, you're probably being monitored when you're shopping in a store, your movement is being tracked if you have a GPS system in your car and as another poster mentioned, the cellular companies can track you anyway.

      In short, Big Brother is already watching you.... and everyone.
  • 1)Develop mobile robotic access point.

    2)Combine with a Roomba [irobot.com].

    3)Profit!!!

    Get the darn thing to do some usefull work while you surf the web.

  • One step forward (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This is a neat step forward, but really only experimentally viable.

    The real advacement will be when they can implement their mesh technology with a swam of airborne drones, which automatically place themselves for optimal coverage of a specified area based on throughput and interference avoidance.

    I'd give it 10 year, TOPS.

    (Cisco's current technologies already support this on a rudimentary level. If you don't know much about wireless mesh networking, here's a wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless [wikipedia.org]
  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @08:22AM (#18526697) Homepage Journal

    it is of interest to the military and initiatives such as the Army's Future Combat Systems which uses a variety of advanced systems to achieve battleground superiority. A wireless robot such as this could play a part in the communications of those systems, experts say.

    Hard to imagine the military going for a cheap hack like Wifi when they have the resources for a proper satellite comms system. And this roving relay thing just looks like a cheap toy to me. Maybe OK for shopping centres but not the sort of thing you want to waste your time digging out of sand dunes in Iraq.

    Take out the wifi bit and you are left with an autonomous rover/UAV which is interesting but not really ciscos job. Looks like a bad fit to me.

    • Satcoms is high latency and expensive. If you can link everyone to the local mesh with their own coveragebot then it's a big improvement for local comms
    • Satellite has obvious problems... relatively long delays and saturated bandwidth. If these things are cheap to produce then every company can have a couple UAVs with them to deploy when doing recon which will allow them to stay in touch with their camp and get that Satellite info or comms from a place that can put up a dish.

      Besides... I hear Satellites suck for playing the latest Rainbow Six... horrible ping rates, get you killed every time.
    • Satellite bandwidth is scarce. Only really high priority users or missions are going to get an allocated satellite freq. More common are local-unit radio networks. Think of a tank squadron (battalion). They have separate troops (companies) maneuvering over an area of several kilometers. The adjacent unit or the Brigade command post is another several klicks distant on top of that. Most of the tanks' radios are of limited range; so a dynamically moving repeater (perhaps on an airborne drone) would be very va
  • "the robots can follow a user almost anywhere to maintain connectivity" But can they follow you up a step? More important, will they stop if you go down a flight of steps. ... I don't even want to think about being followed into the bathroom to maintain my wireless access.
  • Am I the only one who sees "Homeland Security" written all over a lot of inventions lately?

  • beats using people (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 192939495969798999 (58312) <info@NoSpam.devinmoore.com> on Thursday March 29, 2007 @08:36AM (#18526795) Homepage Journal
    My grandfather was in WWII, and he had to run phone lines/communications out onto the battlefield and back... using a robot is way less life-threatening!
    • by DavidV (167283)
      'he had to run phone lines/communications out onto the battlefield and back'

      He ran a seperate cable each direction? That's what I call failsafe, which is probably what you need in that situation, just take different paths so you don't lose both simultaneously.
      • IIRC, he said he ran out there for the comm's, and then ran back as in "away from the line of fire"!
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          Kudos to your grandad - the guys who ran the comms wires were second only to senior officers on the sniper's priority list.

          Not surprised he ran - you wouldn't get me anywhere near a job like that.

  • Also... (Score:1, Troll)

    by faloi (738831)
    There's a free Power Card in it for everybody that buys from Dave Buster [daveandbusters.com], so even if your WiFi goes out you can have fun!
  • Great! (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    All I need now is a creepy robot following me and my laptop to the bathroom.
  • R2D2 they call him....
  • Dave? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Grashnak (1003791) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @09:59AM (#18527653)
    Where are you going Dave? Dave? You're moving out of range Dave. I'm following you Dave. Dave, I'm concerned that you continue to move out of range. Here, let me help you stop moving by BREAKING YOUR FUCKING LEGS. There, now you're in range again Dave. Good Dave.
  • Just strap a wifi relay to Ceiling Cat.
  • ...it is of interest to the military and initiatives such as the Army's Future Combat Systems which uses a variety of advanced systems to achieve battleground superiority...

    I fully realize that communication up the line, is just as important as coming home. But I would think that a Bad-Guy/Gal in a spider hole with an RPG would be more intriguing.

    "A man with a Bow an Arrow, can hold up an entire Tank Column. If he is at the right time, and right place." - Jerry Pournelle
  • I doubt any company or agency would invest in something like this to follow people around. Major citys already have full coverage and its easy to track almost anyone. But as a military option this is perfect as you can have a chain of UAV one connecting with the next and maintaining at all times communication on the field. Instead of a giant satelite phone - smaller, lighter options can be used on the field. Alot of options become available with tech like this.
    • How about a cell company having a drone circle a major metro area during major sporting events or along a highway during a hurricane evacuation. As the mob of people move to or from the center or along a highway, the drone could calculate where it was needed most in order to supplement the local tower infrastructure. That way, it could help the local network from being saturated and collapsing.
  • This is another traffic-building blog spam. It's from another blog. [pennnet.com] None of these "articles" have a link to anything that looks like a real source, or a picture. No Cisco press release mentions this. But all these blogs have plenty of ads.

    I think this is a garbled description of one of the academic "swarming robot" projects, many of which have WiFi gear on board. Those have been around for a while, and there was an article about them in IEEE Trans. on Automation and Robotics this month. It's not a C

  • ...welcome our new robot overlords.
  • is Dave Buster? You gotta be kidding... Must have had a terrible time in school...
  • if they put this in a small blimp that followed me around I think for non covert ops it might work out better.

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