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Smart Dust Has Arrived

Smart Dust Has Arrived

Smart Dust has been an almost fictional idea of very small computing “motes” that can collect and report data. Like small particles of dust, these little computing sensor nodes could be used to collect information in a variety of applications. By simply injecting some smart dust into a flow of liquid or a tornado, a new method of modeling complex scenarios becomes available. They could be used in packaging materials to monitor integrity, or to monitor environmental conditions, or even implanted inside human bodies.

Now, the first real millimeter-scale “complete computing system” has been developed at the University of Michigan. Called the Michigan Micro Mote, they come in several versions, measure in the millimeter range, harvest energy from ambient light and transmit data wirelessly.

World’s Smallest Computer | MconneX | MichEpedia

– [youtube.com]

Michigan Micro Mote (M3) Makes History – [umich.edu]

The Michigan Micro Mote constitutes the first complete, operational computer system measuring as small as two millimeters across. “To be “complete,” a computer system must have an input of data, the ability to process that data – meaning process and store it, make decisions about what to do next – and ultimately, the ability to output the data.” Prof. Blaauw explained. “The sensors are the input and the radios are the output. The other key to being a complete computer is the ability to supply its own power.”

The Michigan Micro Mote contains solar cells that power the battery with ambient light, including indoor rooms with no natural sunlight, allowing the computers to run perpetually.

This line of “smart dust” devices includes computers equipped with imagers (with motion detection), temperature sensors, and pressure sensors. They are the culmination of work initiated by Blaauw and Sylvester on very low-power processing for millimeter-scale systems.

The World’s Smallest Computer – [computerhistory.org]

Smart Dust

The right-most point on this chart shows millimeter-scale sensors, also known as “motes” or “smart dust,” which, when deployed in large numbers, can form wireless sensor networks (WSNs). Motes are entire computer systems the size of a grain of sand that sense some environmental variable like pressure, temperature, vibration, or light. They are designed to be cheap and ubiquitous, self-powered and able to communicate with each other.

What is smart dust? Smart dust is made up of millimeter-scale self-contained microelectromechanical devices that include sensors, computational ability, bi-directional wireless communications technology, a power supply and the ability to self-organize into ad hoc networks. As tiny as dust particles, smart dust motes can be spread throughout buildings or into the atmosphere to collect and monitor data.

The computer smaller than a grain of rice: Tiny PC could invisibly monitor you and your home – [dailymail.com]

  • Michigan Micro Mote is a complete computer system less that 5mm across
  • Contains solar cells that power the battery with ambient light
  • Can be equipped with cameras, temperature and pressure sensors

It is the smallest computer in the world – and 150 of them can fit in a thimble.

Called the Michigan Micro Mote, to tiny technology is a complete computer system.

Its inventors say it can act as a smart sensor, and give everyday objects computing capabilities.

The Michigan Micro Mote is the first complete, operational computer system measuring as small as two millimeters across.

‘To be ‘complete,’ a computer system must have an input of data, the ability to process that data – meaning process and store it, make decisions about what to do next – and ultimately, the ability to output the data.’ Professor David Blaauw explained.

‘The sensors are the input and the radios are the output. The other key to being a complete computer is the ability to supply its own power.’

The Michigan Micro Mote contains solar cells that power the battery with ambient light, including indoor rooms with no natural sunlight, allowing the computers to run perpetually.

This line of ‘smart dust’ devices includes computers equipped with imagers (with motion detection), temperature sensors, and pressure sensors.

The Crazy-Tiny Next Generation of Computers – [medium.com]

When Prabal Dutta accidentally drops a computer, nothing breaks. There’s no crash. The only sound you might hear is a prolonged groan. That’s because these computers are just one cubic millimeter in size, and once they hit the floor, they’re gone. “We just lose them,” Dutta says. “It’s worse than jewelry.” To drive the point home, Dutta, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at the University of Michigan, emails me a photo of 50 of these computers. They barely fill a thimble halfway to its brim.

What’s in the thimble is the culmination of a decade’s worth of research into microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) — the technology of very tiny computers. MEMS are also called “smart dust,” and Dutta’s dust is the smallest known to humankind. Dutta is part of the Michigan Micro Mote, or M3, project at the University of Michigan, and M3 is on the cusp of releasing the blueprints for the “motes,” as Dutta calls them. As soon as the motes get approved by the University’s licensing office — which will happen any day now, says Dutta — M3 will release the blueprints on their mbus.io website, so that nimble-fingered researchers, hackers and Maker Faire enthusiasts alike might begin to build them. After years of trial and error, smart dust, long predicted by members of the scientific community, is finally here.

SEE ALSO:
Smart Dust
Utility Fog
Smart Environments
Self-assembling Swarms of Microrobots
Smart Sand Replicator

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