If you've ever lived or stayed in an area with a limited Internet connection or a 3G dead zone, you'll know exactly how frustrating it can be even to just quickly check your emails. Perhaps people living in such areas should invest in something like the Wi-Fi Extending Robot.
This tank-like machine by students at Northeastern University will locate Wi-Fi in hazardous areas where there might not be much of a network infrastructure. It is operated remotely, and features an Eee PC (running Linux, Arduino, and Node.js) on board to act as the tank's main brain.
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The 150-pound robot is controlled over its own Wi-Fi network, and this is extended thanks to the repeater unit on the back. The aluminum bot will run off its battery for about 12 hours, and it features GPS tracking, a tilting webcam with night vision, and a microphone. This means that while you send out the tank to find some Wi-Fi, you'll be able to see what the robot sees, which helps with controls, and when you strike connection gold, note the exact location.
The software used to control the Wi-Fi Extending Robot is custom built, and it lets you control the robot's camera, speed, and direction; extend the robot's range with the repeaters; and most importantly, monitor your connection. The software also has a Web interface, so you can control the bot from any device.
Do you see much use in this sort of robot? What would you use it for? Comment away below.
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This story, "Wi-Fi-extending robot sniffs out wireless networks, is built like a tank" was originally published by PCWorld.