Smartdust: Questions and Answers

Jan 16 • Resources • 3972 Views • 4 Comments on Smartdust: Questions and Answers

Q1: What is Smartdust?

  • They are tiny Sensors.
  • A tiny dust size device with extra-ordinary capabilities.
  • A Wireless sensor Networks(WSN).
  • Nodes in smartdust are called motes.
  • Combines sensing, computing, wireless communication capabilities and autonomous power supply within volume of few millimeters.

Q2: How smartdust can be used in real life applications or what are its uses?

The engineers working on the technology predict that it would be used in connection with:

— Weather, seismological monitoring on Mars;

— Land, space communication networks;

— Chemical and biological sensors;

— Defence-related sensor networks;

— Inventory control;

— Product quality assurance;

— Smart office spaces;

— Sports, like sailing;

— Traffic sensors in congested areas;

— Monitoring power consumption, and;

— Efficiency of household appliances.

Following are the advancements needed, so that it can further be used to:

— Examine and check humidity and temperature to review the freshness of food stored in the refrigerator or cupboard;

— Help them in operating a wheelchair or using computational devices;

— Detecting diseases like cancer etc

Q3: Describe the future scope of smartdust technology.

Ans: Imagine a cloud of sensors, each the size of a grain of sand, blown aloft by hurricane winds and relaying data on the storm to weather stations below or picture tiny robotic chips drifting through a human artery to locate, and eradicate, a hidden clot.While the above advances are likely far off, dozens of companies are working on the basic element for such inventions: smart dust.Smart dust refers to tiny, wireless networks of sensors. You also could think of the sensors as tiny chips, or even miniature robots. The smart dust detects data about light, temperatures or vibrations and transmits that data to larger computer systems.Researchers hope to shrink these devices to the size of a speck of dust via nanotechnology — the science of building molecule-size electronic devices. Some scientists see smart dust as quite possibly a game-changing technology.

Q4: How smartdust Works?

Ans: Smart dust is based on micro electromechanical systems, or MEMs. These tiny computer chips can measure temperatures, vibrations or surface pressures. Smart sensors relay signals back to a command computer, which then compiles the data to give feedback to plant managers or the results could trigger an automatic response, such as turning down a building’s temperature or reducing the flow of oil. Such wireless tracking sensors are cheap. They cost just tens of dollars each, not the tens of thousands for comparable wired systems that often involve digging trenches and building outdoor conduits.

Q5: Discuss the components of a mote(node in a smartdust).

Ans:A single Smartdust mote has:

1.A semiconductor laser diode and MEMS beam steering mirror for active optical transmission.

2.A MEMS corner cube retro-reflector for passive optical transmission.

3.An optical receiver.

4.A signal processing and control circuitry.

5.A power source based on thick-film batteries and solar cells.

Q6: Describe listening to a dust field.

Ans: Many Smartdust applications rely on direct optical communication from an entire field of dust

motes to one or more base stations. These base stations must therefore be able to receive a

volume of simultaneous optical transmissions. Further, communication must be possible outdoors in

bright sunlight which has an intensity of approximately 1 kilowatt per square meter,although the

dust motes each transmit information with a few milliwatts of power. Using a narrow-band optical

filter to eliminate all sunlight except the portion near the light frequency used for communication

can partially solve this second problem, but the ambient optical power often remains much

stronger than the received signal power.

Q7: Elaborate major challenges in smardust technology.


1.To incorporate all these functions while maintaining a low power consumption

2. Maximising operating life given the limited volume of energy storage

3.The functionality can be achieved only if the total power consumptions limited to microwatt levels.

4..An unbroken line of sight of path should be available for free space optical links.

Q8: Explain communicating with a smartdust.

Ans: Smartdust full potential can only be attained when the sensor nodes communicate with one

another or with a central base station. Wireless communication facilitates simultaneous data

collection from thousands of sensors.There are several options for communicating to and from a

cubic-mm computer.Radio-frequency communication is well under-stood, but currently requires

minimum power levels in the multiple mw range due to analog mixers, filters, and oscillators. If

whisker-thin antennas of length(in cm) can be accepted as a part of a dust mote, then

reasonably efficient antennas can be made for radio-frequency communication, while the smallest

complete radios are still on the order of a few hundred cubic millimeters, there is active work in the

industry to produce cubic-millimeter radios.

Q9: Explain MEMS sensors which forms the backbone of smartdust technology.

Ans: Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) is the integration of mechanical elements, sensors,

actuators, and electronics on a common silicon substrate through micro fabrication technology.

While the electronics are fabricated using integrated circuit (IC) process sequences (e.g.,

CMOS,Bipolar processes), the micro mechanical components are fabricated using compatible

“micro machining” processes that selectively away parts of the silicon wafer or add new

structural layers to form the mechanical and electromechanical devices. MEMS realizes a complete

system on chip technology.

Q10: Enlist disadvantages of smardust.


1.The size of the dust motes is so small that there presence cannot be felt visually.

2.It may hinder privacy and people might always be afraid that someone is monitoring them.

3. The costs of motes is very high.

4.Motes may enter respiratory organs and may cause serious health troubles.

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4 Responses to Smartdust: Questions and Answers

  1. sanjay dubey says:

    what question will be arieses on smart dust technology in seminar.

  2. sneha sinha says:

    This article gives a proper description and knowledge about smartdust technology.A wide range of applications has also being mentioned in this article which is worth reading..

  3. swarn priya says:

    Smartdust is the recent and very innovative technology.This article gives a lot of information regarding smartdust and various sets of questions regarding it.

  4. preeti nisha says:

    This smartdust technology is really very innovative. The MEMS sensors used which is completely dependent on chip technology. The working of this technology and its multipurpose uses in enormous fields seems very
    deligent. This post surely teaches us new and unique technologies which we would not have known otherwise.

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