4

That Red Balloon Over Collins on the Weekend? Part of a DARPA Contest

That giant red weather balloon hovering over Collins Avenue this past weekend wasn't some sort of Art Basel-related installation. It was part of a U.S. Defense Department Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) contest.


DARPA set 99 ten luftballoons in locations across the country and challenged teams of citizens to use social networking to find the coordinates of all ten. A monetary prize was offered to the winning team. The goal was to see how people would use social networks while trusting information and working under a deadline. 

Balloons were also placed in Houston, Portland, Charlottesville, Memphis, and other cities.


An MIT grad student led the winning team, which found all ten balloons in less than nine hours. Besides combing through Twitter and Facebook, the team also set up its own site and offered a cut of the $40,000 prize money to anyone who offered reliable leads. The rest of the money was donated to charity. 

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.