Another good reason not to go for a stroll in South Korea

DMZ is a nature preserve little touched by humans; this thing helps keep it that way

The North Korea/South Korea border has been the most militarized in the world since the fall of the former Soviet Union and collapse not only of the Berlin Wall, but the security apparatus that shot on site those trying to cross it from East to West.

Over almost 60 years of standoff, the demilitarized zone, which stretches the width of the whole peninsula, has become one of the most dangerous in the world for humans, though a tendency by both sides to shoot humans but not animals has made the 2.5-mile-wide DMZ a pretty decent nature preserve.

Hundreds of thousands of shooters on both sides are ready to pile out and hit the foxholes at any time. But automated weapons make things a lot easier.

The Super Aegis II, a robotically controlled, night-seeing, automated machine-gun and grenade launcher from South Korean DoDaam Systems Ltd. is one of a number of systems trying to automate the shooting for you.

The turret uses long-range closed-circuit cameras, infrared sensors and laser ranging and targeting systems to lock on human-sized targets in dark or fog at ranges of up to 1.36 miles. Gyroscopes keep the turret and its videogame-like aiming system on target when gunfire tries to push its barrel off target.

You can put them in a truck or mount them on a building, and operate them from LAN cables or wireless network connections from a distance in the rear.

The U.S. has its own versions of automated or remotely operated turrets, and is working on more, in addition to its successful and growing armada of unmanned aerial vehicle for both surveillance and attack.

Some of the ground-based systems are part of large-scale system upgrades such as the failed Future Combat Systems program, sometimes in more narrow and targeted roles.

Among the most creative, other than bug- and bird-sized surveillance robots that will probably never see combat until batteries are a lot lighter and longer lasting, among the most innovative are unmanned supply systems -- which take humans out of the vulnerable position of hovering in place or landing while dropping off ammo, medical and food supplies to troops in the field.

Which just underscores the same tendency toward taking humans out of the process whenever possible, both on the battlefield and in IT and business units.

No one is sending this thing up to Sales to fix the laptop Big Bob keeps frying with virii downloaded with "really important, work-related videos" (although this one is cool).

Some of the support staff are probably wishing for a turret that can recognize old Bob, though, and a way to fix his computer without having to look too hard at what kind of content he considers work-related.

Kevin Fogarty writes about enterprise IT for ITworld. Follow him on Twitter @KevinFogarty.

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