Posted by Jason Ocker

The Robots Will Run the Network

According to Gizmag, a group of engineering students from Boston’s Northeastern University has devised a way to make a “theoretically infinite WiFi” network using remote-controlled robots for hard-coverage areas like battlefields and wilderness.

Basically, they look like little tanks (think Battlebots) with repeater boxes. According to the article,

When the repeater boxes are deployed, they automatically link to the nearest WiFi source and expand the network. Since the network is decentralized and can communicate with any WiFi card, the network is theoretically infinite given enough repeaters. The clever part of the robot’s design is that its control system uses the very network it creates. The control is a web-based interface that operates over the WiFi network and provides the operator with real-time control of the robot.

This sounds great for emergency situations, but it sounds even greater for, well, my life. I’d love my own mouse droid (or my own set of them) rolling around at my side extending my home WiFi wherever I go.

Of course, if WiFi was more ubiquitous and dependable, I wouldn’t need it. Certainly, we’re getting there (see Republic Wireless’s new, cheap smartphone plan for an entire business model built on that assumption), but I want it to be literally omnipresent. I mean, if these robots can give random hunks of rocks and trees their own WiFi, the words “find” and “WiFi” should never find themselves in the same sentence ever again.