Techno TidBits

Sunday, February 19, 2006

In general, I believe it is safe to assume that in many (but not all) key areas of scientific research, the security state is ten to twenty years in advance of what we understand to be the state of the art.

Once something is made public at the point, it is obsolete.

Nanotechnology is something I follow in my spare time to click away. It scares me and fascinates me at the same time. In fact, sometime in the future, I may go back to school to get a degree that has yet to be named in nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is a wave you ride or be swept away by it.

I have been reading several rants on new technology called Dust. I will come back to this in a minute.

So as I am clicking away, I read an article about Hitachi:
“Japan's Hitachi said it has developed the world's smallest and thinnest IC chip that can be embedded in paper to track down parcels or prove the authenticity of a document. The integrated circuit (IC) chip is as minute as a speck of dust, measuring just 0.15 millimeters (0.006 inches) by 0.15 millimeters and 7.5 micrometers thick.”

Sounds cool, right? Until you see all that it implicates.

So here are few announcements over the past few years:

Smart dust on the way: Tiny computers are being developed by scientists for spying or monitoring the weather. The prototypes measure about 5mm wide, but the University of Berkeley researchers believe they could develop computers which are the size of a grain of sand. The smart dust could be dropped from aero planes to analyze turbulence.

Smart dust: Tiny sensors that contain a processor and a wireless transmitter in packages as small as 10 cubic millimeters. These could be used to make energy-saving lights that turn themselves off if no one is at home (but on again, if another sensor detects a possible intruder). A key beneficiary in building ubiquitous wireless networks will be software radios... It enables tremendous economies of scale which will make radio links cheap enough to put in pretty much anything.

Specknets: Each speck has a sensor, its own processor and memory capability. This gives the specks a kind of 'computational aura', which can pick up information from the environment. Collaborating with other local specks, the data gathered is acted upon. Depending on the application, the specks can be programmed to read a variety of information. Working together the specks are powerful enough to create new forms of pervasive computing.... Other important issues around speck-based computing are the ethical and social implications of pervasive technology.

Intel's Cambridge laboratory focuses primarily on developing networking, systems and software technologies to enable new types of distributed systems. The research ties into Intel's R&D work into "smart dust" or motes - small bits of silicon built using nanotechnology that act as sensors and can be embedded in furniture and buildings, for example, and networked.

Self-organizing wireless-sensor networks, a realization of the Pentagon's "smart-dust" concept, have reached the prototype stage worldwide. The smart sensors, or Motes, were created by the University of California at Berkeley and Intel, and are being tested out worldwide today.
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