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April 22-25, 2003, Santa Clara -Explore. Invent. Connect.


Smart Dust, Talk Tags, and Roboflies
David Pescovitz, UC Berkeley College of Engineering and A Good Seed Production
Eric Paulos, Intel Research

Track: Nanotechnology and Hardware
Date: Friday, April 25
Time: 1:15pm - 2:00pm
Location: Lafayette/San Tomas/Lawrence

Catalyzed by the convergence of microsystems, radio frequency indentification tags, wireless networks, and nanotechnology, the dream of ubiquitous computing is becoming a reality. Microscopic machines chattering across ad-hoc networks are beginning to provide us with information and insights about the world around us while enabling us to interact with computers, and each other, in profoundly different ways.

In the midst of an energy crisis, how do you know if you're wasting power? Try asking your house, where inexpensive and nearly invisible sensors outfitted with their own TinyOS provide real-time data about light, temperature, and activity. Far from the urban sprawl, a lush habitat of nesting seabirds is instrumented with tiny sensors that provide a high-resolution snapshot of these coastal creatures' environment. Meanwhile, at an international conference at the Las Vegas Convention Center, similar technology embedded in the attendees' name badges automatically reveals common interests before a conversation even begins. Soon, a physician will screen a patient's DNA with his PDA and buildings will diagnose their own structural health after an earthquake.

The technologies enabling these science-fiction fantasies are now emerging from research laboratories. The result will be a mesh of proactive computing interlaced into the very fabric of our lives. Pescovitz and Paulos take the audience on a tour of these miraculous microscopic artifacts in the modern day cabinet of high-tech curiosities, culminating in a demonstration of a self-organizing sensorweb.

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