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Berkeley?s Smart Dust project, led by Professors Pister and Kahn, explores the limits on size and power consumption in autonomous sensor nodes. Size reduction is paramount, to make the nodes as inexpensive and easy-to-deploy as possible. The research team is confident that they can incorporate the requisite sensing, communication, and computing hardware, along with a power supply, in a volume no more than a few cubic millimeters, while still achieving impressive performance in terms of sensor functionality and communications capability. These millimeter-scale nodes are called ?Smart Dust.? It is certainly within the realm of possibility that future prototypes of Smart Dust could be small enough to remain suspended in air, buoyed by air currents, sensing and communicating for hours or days on end.

'Smart dust' ? sensor-laden networked computer nodes that are just cubic millimetres in volume. The smart dust project envisions a complete sensor network node, including power supply, processor, sensor and communications mechanisms, in a single cubic millimetre. .Smart dust motes could run for years , given that a cubic millimetre battery can store 1J and could be backed up with a solar cell or vibrational energy source

The goal of the Smart Dust project is to build a 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. Smart dust consists of series of circuit and micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) designs to cast those functions into custom silicon. Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) consist of extremely tiny mechanical elements, often integrated together with electronic circuitry.

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