January 28, 2008
A New Term: "Dust Network"I saw a new term today (OK, it was last week, but I haven't had a chance to blog it). It's "dust network".
What is a dust network? The term is, amazingly, so new that there is no Wikipedia entry for it. Investigation reveals that it could be several things. First of all there is a company, Dust Networks, which makes embedded wireless sensor networking technology. That seems to be the gist of its genericized use also, in the sense of a bunch of very very cheap devices that communicate via a simple data stream to allow themselves to act as one big thing (the name "weak nuclear force interaction network" may give a better sense of what is meant, but doesn't roll as trippingly off the tongue). There is some notion that the data only flows from the devices, requiring a central computer to interpret the result and turn the "dust particles" into one very large and complicated sensor (here is a less-than-helpful page that asks the questions "What is a dust network?", but neglects to answer it). A company called Inrix (evidently a Microsoft spinoff) has a Smart Dust Network which integrates a bunch of sensors that can report information about traffic flow in order to provide a more accurate picture of current conditions. And here's a book called Smart Dust, which calls them "dust sensor networks". The phrase "smart dust" does appear in Wikipedia, referring to devices so small and simple that they can only detect light or vibration.
Dust network...remember, you heard it here first.
Posted by AdamBa at January 28, 2008 10:08 PM
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I did not hear it here first. Scientific American had an article on it within the last couple months. And of course Phillip Pullman has something that might be called smart dust, although I'm not sure the phrase is ever used.
It seems to me that these dust particles were microchips about .1mm on a side. I forget where they get their power from.
Posted by: marble chair at January 29, 2008 05:49 AM
I think I first read of it in "The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer" by Neal Stephenson (2000)
Posted by: at February 4, 2008 03:32 AM
I think I first read of it in
The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer
by Neal Stephenson (2000)
Posted by: at February 4, 2008 03:33 AM