What is Smart Dust?

With the emerging technology, we can imagine a world where wireless devices are as small as a dust particle or often smaller than the eye of a needle, can collect data and transmit it back to a base for processing. Outfitted with miniature sensors, these dust like particle can detect everything from light to vibrations to temperature. The ‘dust’ itself is a set of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), more commonly known as motes, which pack an incredible punch considering their limited size. These miniaturized devices have sensors, cameras and communication protocol to transmit the data they collect back to a base in order to process. Which is why they are referred to as Smart Dust. And, just as with their natural cousins, Smart Dust is capable of being suspended in the environment due to its minuscule size.

The potential of smart dust to collect information about any environment in incredible detail could impact plenty of things in a variety of industries from safety to compliance to productivity. It’s like multiplying the internet of things technology millions or billions of times over. These smart devices might be used in Agriculture to monitor crops in an unprecedented scale to determine watering, fertilization and pest-control needs. Possible applications for the healthcare industry are immense from diagnostic procedures without surgery to monitoring devices that help people with disabilities interact with tools that help them live independently. In military application, Smart Dust can be used to monitor activities in remote or inaccessible areas. It can also be used to keep a tab on enemy movement in cases where it is not feasible to send drones or humans.

In any case, Smart Dust has the potential to completely reinvent how our world works. From war to space exploration, this technology is riding on the winds of change.

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About the author

Assistant Professor Department of Computer Science and Engineering Girijananda Chowdhury University