A group at the University of California at Berkeley has been funded by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop microscopic electronic “smart dust.” The devices would be small and light enough to float in the air, gather enormous amounts of data, and send it to the operator. Each mote would be made up of microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS, making a simple computer with sophisticated sensor capabilities. When they become feasible, they could be set adrift anywhere to relay virtually everything there is to know about an environment. Eventually, scientist plan for the devices to share information as a “massively distributed intelligence.”
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