When you first hear the word, Smart Dust, you might think of a fairy tale or something involving magic. Smart Dust actually describes microelectromechanical (MEMS) devices that include sensors, computational ability, and more. They can be as tiny as dust particles and can spread throughout buildings and into the atmosphere to collect and monitor data. Smart Dust isn’t actually a new concept and has been around since the beginning of the 1990s when it was invented out of a prolonged research and study project convened by the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Research And Development Corporation (RAND).
Smart Dust can be employed in most industries from agriculture to the medical industry and communication. To be precise, the entire world could be measured by means of these omnipresent sensors. The Machine-to-Machine accessible smart dust is made of motes, which are tiny sensors capable of performing a variety of functions. Smart dust is activated by MEMS and brings progression in digital circuitry and wireless communication. Every node used in the sensor network comprises three subsystems including the mechanisms that sense the environment, the processing means to perform local computations, and the communication subsystem responsible for message exchanging based on adjoining sensor nodes.
Smart Dust Possibilities
A key implementer of smart dust, UC Berkeley Professor Kris Pister, stated in a press conference that,
“integrated with superior computing efficiency, wireless radios, and sensing tech, smart dust will be quite a comprehensive solution to study the real time data concerning people, industries, cities as well as natural environment.”
The great scopes of these sensors include:
l The processing power, energy, and networking of a volume of sensors offers a more reliable, consistent, and robust sensor net covering a wider segment. The sensors are backed by a vibration mechanism that can be used to identify problems in machineries installed at oil refineries.
l The nodes work together and lead to correct sensing. The two most vital operations in any sensor network are basically data broadcasting or spread of voice, queries, and data throughout the network.
l Sensing nodes can be employed in different industries including military, chemical processing, health, disaster relief, and broadcasting.
l Smart sensing technology enhances the quality and efficiency of communications, embedded processing, virtualization, and network enabled tools apart from the software infrastructure.
l The modernization of mobile terminals and information systems and the incorporation of a wide range of sensing-intelligent instruments is supposed to bring superiority to sensory inputs and enhance industry standards.
l With the development of 3G technologies over the globe, M2M applications are predicted to bring higher data speeds.
l With the integration of advanced mobile internet instruments like the iPad, these sensory inputs are likely to drive inclination from the world of 3 and 4G mechanisms.
l While the transportation trade is greatly influenced by real time navigation and require high-level bandwidth, the smart systems will bring advanced connectivity.
With smart dust, there are many possibilities and multinational companies are getting in on it. For example, HP’s goal is to deploy over a trillion smart dust sensors across the planet to generate a Central Nervous System of the Earth and is working with Royal Dutch Shell to install a million monitors to aid in oil exploration. These tiny devices would evaluate the health of ecosystems, foresee the possibility of earthquakes effectively, review traffic patterns, and observe energy use. However, there are still limitations and challenges that come along with smart dust technology.