“When they’re not picking up signals or passing along messages, the sensors are all-but-shut-down, barely consuming any power. That allows them to last for weeks, buried underground. Or the sensors can be encased in hollow ‘rocks’ equipped with miniature solar panels. A quick recharge from the sun will allow the sensor to ‘get through the night anywhere on Earth that U.S. forces operate,’ says Plyburn.

“Plyburn claims that the sensor’s battery, about the size of a postage stamp, has been able to go through 80,000 recharges, compared to a few hundred cycles for a typical lithium-ion battery. Even if he’s off by a factor of 10, the sensor’s battery could keep the machine operational for nearly twenty-two years.”

—Noah Shachtman reports on the military’s upcoming sensor systems, early versions of which are already deployed on the U.S.-Mexico border to aid in detecting illegal crossings. Because I grew up Christian, it made me think of the old verse: “And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said to him, Master, rebuke your disciples. And he answered and said to them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. –Luke 19:39-40” (Photo: Lockheed Martin)