California-based Squid Labs, an R&D company comprised largely of MIT Media Lab grads, has invented an intelligent rope with data sensors embedded in its fibers. The "active threads" contain metallic wires that can carry data and send it to a handheld receiver, so the rope can actually sense its own load and signal any weaknesses long before it frays and gives way. Inside the core of the rope are a small proportion of electrically conducting fibers that sense changes in resistance as the rope is pulled. Practical applications include analyzing the load in paragliders, climbing and lifting applications, rock climbing and other rope-based sports, as well as optimizing sails on yachts and mooring ships. Squid Labs is currently working on commercializing its smart, self-sensing rope.