Stone age

September 8, 2000

British scientists claim to have created the world's first intelligent pebble. The smart stone has been developed to help researchers understand the processes that can lead to coastal erosion or river flooding.

A prototype device has been tested in the laboratory and will undergo trials on a beach and later in two rivers. After spending time in the water, the pebble will signal its whereabouts, allowing it to be retrieved. It will then give scientists a detailed history of its movements.

The research is being carried out at the universities of Southampton and Lancaster, with funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Details: www.soton.ac.uk/ds5/epsrc

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