Like an ordinary dust particle, Smart Dust will remain suspended in the environment acting like electronic nerve endings for the planet, monitoring almost everything on earth. Smart Dust is a concept originated out of a research project by the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Research And Development Corporation (RAND) in the early 1990s. Smart Dust is made of “motes” which are tiny sensors that can perform a variety of functions. They are made of “microeletromechanical systems” known as MEMS.
The goal of the Smart Dust project is to build a self-contained, millimeter-scale sensing and communication platform for a massively distributed sensor network. This device will be around the size of a grain of sand and will contain sensors, computational ability, bi-directional wireless communications, and a power supply, while being inexpensive enough to deploy by the hundreds. The science and engineering goal of the project is to build a complete, complex system in a tiny volume using state-of-the art technologies, which will require evolutionary and revolutionary advances in integration, miniaturization, and energy management. We foresee many applications for this technology: Weather/seismological monitoring on Mars, Internal spacecraft monitoring, Land/space comm. Networks, Chemical/biological sensors, Weapons stockpile monitoring, Defense-related sensor networks, Inventory Control, Product quality monitoring, Smart office spaces, Sports – sailing, balls.
The main object of the Smart Dust project is used to demonstrate that a complete sensor/communication system can be integrated into a cubic millimeter package. This involves both evolutionary and revolutionary advances in miniaturization, integration, and energy management.