Marking 40 years of the internet with balloons

DARPA challenge used social networking to track down secret locations

Internet surfing

Forty years after the internet first took shape in the form of the ARPANet in the US, an unusual challenge seeking to test the power of online communication has been won by a university team.

A group from MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, managed to solve a geographical puzzle set by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA.

Secret locations

To take home the DARPA Network Challenge's $40,000 (£24,000) first prize, the team had to use online social networking to find ten red weather balloons that DARPA had moored in secret locations across the US.

By successfully doing so and completing the task in under nine hours, the MIT winners beat off the challenges of more than 4,000 rivals across the US.