11 April 2007

Spray-On Computer Specks

"Specks" are 1 cubic mm semiconductors that act as sensors and wirelessly communicate in a network with other specks. Here is more about speckled computing from the Scotsman:
SCOTTISH scientists have developed a computer the size of a matchstick head, thousands of which can be sprayed onto patients to give a comprehensive analysis of their condition.

Speckled computing - some of the most advanced computing technology in the world - is currently being researched and developed by a group of Scottish experts.

The individual appliances, or 'specks', will form networks that can be programmed like ordinary computers.

Spraying them directly onto a person creates the ability to carry out different tests at the same time, for example muscle movement and pulse rate. This allows a complete picture of the patient's condition to be built up quickly.

This research is being carried out by Scottish researchers at the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, St. Andrews, and Strathclyde.
The sensors, called specks, are minute semiconductor grains that are independent with their own captive, renewable energy source but which can sense each other and communicate wirelessly to build up a complex web of connections.

Light and temperature sensors could be placed in buildings to automatically react to who is using the building, potentially saving billions of pounds on energy per year, and medicine bottles could be sensitised to ensure that people take their prescribed medication at the correct times, dramatically reducing the amount of wasted drugs.

The scientists are even considering the idea of a computer network in a spray-can, allowing more bandwidth or processing power by spraying a coat of paint containing specks onto a wall. This idea is developed from the concept of ubiquitous computing, where the computer is embedded in a person’s clothing so that information can be sent wirelessly for them to read either in some kind of display or electronic paper that can be rolled up and tucked into a pocket.

This is a pdf overview
from a workshop in speckled computing.

Hat tip to Medgadget and KurzweilAI.net
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