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This week at the annual AUSA Army meeting in Washington, D.C., Lockheed Martin showcased developments in their surveillance technology called SPAN (Self-Powered Ad-hoc Network), a “covert, perpetually self-powered wireless sensor network” that can provide “unobtrusive, continuous surveillance” in units so small they can fit in a rock.
SPAN is a mesh network of self-organizing sensors that, when triggered, can cue a camera or an unmanned aerial vehicle to further study an area, or summon an engineer when a pipeline or bridge structure is in danger or fractured. It uses proprietary algorithms to reduce false alarms.
Lockheed touts the “field-and-forget” technology as providing maximum coverage at minimal costs, claiming that the sensors can remain in the field for years at a time without maintenance, powered by solar technology.
The defense contractor is hoping to sell its spy rocks for surveillance, border protection, pipeline monitoring and bridge security, among other things.
The SPAN system was originally introduced last year, but this isn’t the company’s first attempt at making smart rocks.
Iranian troops patrolling the perimeter of a secret uranium enrichment site have reportedly found a monitoring device disguised as a rock. The spy gadget exploded when disturbed, probably on a self-destruct trigger.