Monday, September 21, 2009

Saving American Lives in Afghanistan Via Automation

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The other day, my mind strung together several pieces of existing technology, cheap technology, to create a new defense system for use in places like Afghanistan. I first spoke of this last night on Dr Bill Wattenburg's show on KGO, 810 on the AM dial out of San Francisco. We are currently using unmanned drones to track and attack, with pretty good results. The enemy, with its willingness to hide behind skirts and children, does bring about some tragedies.

I have always been fond of the pop on lights which use PIR sensors (passive infrared radiation) to sense motion, and then activate the lights for a set period of time. I've marveled at the Game Spy cameras which for $200 will illuminate and area with invisible to the human eye infrared, and then, using PIR to detect once again, take 6 megabyte photographs or short videos, over a period of days.

I was in Radio Shack Saturday and noticed a lighting system for a Halloween pumpkin that included a PIR, and a voice/sound chip, like the greeting cards, that was full of scary noises to amuse anyone who walked close enough to it. The cost, retail? $10.00.

Now let's go to Redwood City, which some time back was having a prolem with people firing guns into the air for New Years Eve, Fourth of July, Cinco De Mayo, etc. People were being hurt in the resulting slugfall, so, being an area full of computer scientists, they developed a network of listening posts throughout the city, which fed to a software program, which quickly identified the sector where the gun fire was occuring.

If you mount sensors (microphones) in inconspiuous and movable towers, I believe Redwood City used the telephone poles, and you sow the surroundling fields or roadside with PIR equipped noise makers, possible emitting coded sounds to help pin point their location, the codes changing each day, and then use a local flying drone to check out the disturbances, you might be able to slow down the enemy substantially. In a way, it is a minefield without explosives.

My wife points out that the Taliban and Al Qaeda would use children to attempt to clear an area, in which case you might include anti Taliban slogans emitting from the devices, and candy attached to them, to avoid premature destruction, and slow down those efforts.

You might also want to make every 1,000th Sound Thumper (Dune derived name) a very sophisticated detector, with a video feed, and its own ability to sense approaching targets from the cheap thumpers around it. Outwardly identical, this one could be detonated, with most of the deadly force going to just one side, after a remote human had determined a real target within range.

Where the others have short spikes to secure themselves, this one would secure itself deep into the ground. Should a motorcycle be used to cause havoc in a sensing field, one of these would eventually put an end to the practice. A simple reversable command, "blowup at will," would turn these babies into real land mines, lost in a forest of identical Sound Thumpers. Another command would make it easy to remove just these when the need for them had passed.

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