Energy Knowledge Network press review

‘Smart dust’ particles are small sensors which can be used to provide large amount of data. It is a new way to learn about ourselves, our cities and the environment that might help us live more efficiency.

•‘Smart dust’, a very small sensor that monitors everything on earth will have many advantages for people and environment oFitted with computing power, sensing equipment, wireless radios and long battery life, the smart dust would make observations and relay mountains of real-time data about people, cities and the natural environment. oThe wireless devices would check to see if ecosystems are healthy, detect earthquakes more rapidly, predict traffic patterns and monitor energy use. oThese would provide more real time information, which can help combat huge problems like climate change and biodiversity loss.

•Dreamt of first by researcher Kris Pister in the 1990s, Hewlett-Packard will be the first to make it oHewlett-Packard, recently announced it’s working on a project it calls the “Central Nervous System for the Earth”. oHP has made plans with Royal Dutch Shell to install 1 million matchbook-size sensors to aid in oil exploration by measuring rock vibrations and movement. oUp to half of oil wells dug turn up dry, so this technology will help oil companies know more about what they are getting into before punching holes in the ground.

•Though more advanced than current sensors, ‘smart dust’ still has some issues to be sorted out oThey are smaller, more portable than other sensors and are also wireless. oHowever technology hasn’t advanced far enough to manufacture sensors on the scale of millimeters for commercial use. oThey can also pose a huge privacy problem because of their small size and large numbers.