Smart Dust

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Smart Dust May­beThe Future of Invol­un­tary Treat­ment of the Public

Smart dust is a name given to extremely small com­put­ing par­ti­cles, RFID chips, or other very small technologies.

A pop­u­lar arti­cle from Extreme Tech describes it in the head­line: “Smart dust: A com­plete com­puter that’s smaller than a grain of sand.” An arti­cle from War is Bor­ing is titled “Future Mil­i­tary Sen­sors Could Be Tiny Specks of ‘Smart Dust’ New tech­nolo­gies allow for extremely small — and ubiq­ui­tous — mil­i­tary sen­sors.” A paper from Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, San Diego describes smart dust:

“The term “smart dust” orig­i­nally referred to minia­ture wire­less semi­con­duc­tor devices made using fab­ri­ca­tion tech­niques derived from the micro­elec­tron­ics indus­try. These devices incor­po­rate sens­ing, com­put­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tions in a centimetre-​sized package.”

con­sider what could hap­pens when sen­sors, anten­nas, and even com­put­ing equip­ment can be com­bined into infor­ma­tion gath­er­ing devices on the microscale. This is a con­cept known as “smart dust,” and it’s been kicked around in sci­ence fic­tion and research com­mu­ni­ties for awhile.

Sim­ply put, smart dust is what will hap­pen if minia­tur­iza­tion con­tin­ues on its cur­rent tra­jec­tory — the point at which devices can be scat­tered to the winds in the mil­lions, bil­lions, or even tril­lions to mea­sure the world in breath­tak­ing detail. Big data and the Inter­net of Things gone wild.

It isn’t hard to imag­ine what the amaz­ing and ter­ri­fy­ing impli­ca­tions are!

Want to know more?

The light side from Extreme Tech

The Dark side from Alt-​headlines

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