FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

"Spray-On Computers" Becoming a Reality

A UK-based group called the Speckled Computing Consortium is developing networks of tiny computers that could one day be sprayed on a surface to help make pervasive computing possible, and help monitor hard-to-reach surfaces.

The group's goal is to create tiny computers, or "specks," about 1mm squared, that would network with each others, as well as with other devices. Currently, the smallest devices are 5mm squared. Each speck is a fully functioning processor with about 2KB memory, and each can be programmed to carry out a specific task.

Among the potential uses for speckled computing are monitoring the structural integrity of aircraft surfaces, and in smart clothing that would allow physicians to monitor the condition of a patient. There's no word on when this technology will be deployed in a production environment... but as it moves closer to reality, concerns about abuse of this technology are sure to be aired.

Sources: Roland Piquepaille's Tech Trends, Discovery Channel