Smart Stuff

We are building intelligence into a constantly expanding list of everyday household items. It started with smart phones, and we now have smart meters, smart light bulbs, smart locks, smart watches, smart clothing and smart appliances and gadgets of all types. Any device that can use sensors to collect data, make decisions about how to react to sensory data, and communicate with other systems, is considered to be a “smart” device.

With electronics shrinking and nanotechnology expanding, the ability to embed circuits and other smart components into a variety of materials is growing along with their capabilities. In fact, we are approaching a point where smart components can be embedded into the materials used in most everyday objects. Then, all of our “stuff” will be connected to all of our other stuff, and it will all be under “smart” control. Not just appliances and computing devices, but also clothing, furniture, walls, and tools will all communicate with central control points and with each other.

By controlling the process of embedding substances into materials down to the molecular level, a randomly generated “fingerprint” can be created that will be difficult to duplicate. This can be used for identification and to protect against counterfeiting.

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