Skip to comments.Flying Microchips The Size Of A Sand Grain Could Be Used For Population Surveillance
Posted on 09/23/2021 12:36:43 PM PDT by BenLurkin
It's neither a bird nor a plane, but a winged microchip as small as a grain of sand that can be carried by the wind as it monitors such things as pollution levels or the spread of airborne diseases.
The tiny microfliers, whose development by engineers at Northwestern University was detailed in an article published by Nature this week, are being billed as the smallest-ever human-made flying structures.
Tiny fliers that can gather information about their surroundings The devices don't have a motor; engineers were instead inspired by the maple tree's free-falling propeller seeds — technically known as samara fruit. The engineers optimized the aerodynamics of the microfliers so that "as these structures fall through the air, the interaction between the air and those wings cause a rotational motion that creates a very stable, slow-falling velocity," said John A. Rogers, who led the development of the devices.
"That allows these structures to interact for extended periods with ambient wind that really enhances the dispersal process," said the Northwestern professor of materials science and engineering, biomedical engineering and neurological surgery.
The wind would scatter the tiny microchips, which could sense their surrounding environments and collect information. The scientists say they could potentially be used to monitor for contamination, surveil populations or even track diseases.
Their creators foresee microfliers becoming part of "large, distributed collections of miniaturized, wireless electronic devices." In other words, they could look like a swarm.
Although the size and engineering of the microfliers are unique, NPR reported on the development of similar "microdrones" in March. The concept has also found its way to the dystopian science fiction series Black Mirror.
"We think that we beat nature" But unlike with maple seeds, the engineers needed to slow down the descent of their microfliers to give the devices more time to collect data. Team member Yonggang Huang developed a computer model that calculated the best design that would enable the microfliers to fall slowly and disperse widely.
"This is impossible with trial-and-error experiments," Huang said in a Northwestern news release.
The team also drew inspiration from children's pop-up books for the construction of such tiny devices.
The engineers first created a base and then bonded it to "a slightly stretched rubber substrate," according to the news release. When relaxed, that substrate pops up into a precise three-dimensional shape.
"We think that we beat nature," Rogers said. "At least in the narrow sense that we have been able to build structures that fall with more stable trajectories and at slower terminal velocities than equivalent seeds that you would see from plants or trees."
Where does it stop - ping?
We’re already living in 1984, now they want to spy on us using flying microchips?
Crichton was ahead on this too. Feel kinda bad for the youngsters.
But also get away with breaking the law.
They can be used also for surveilling the tyrants.
Just keeps gettin’ better and better.
I think something akin to this scenario forms the background to Frank Herbert's Dune. And in the case of "Terminator" where the things are winning.
“I am perpetual, I keep the country clean!”
And Larry Burkett wrote a “fiction” book THE ILLUMINATI. All about government tracking and control....
Yeah, I can just see this injecting people outdoors with poison.
This sensor is indicating the whole area is contaiminated with tiny sensors.
Within a short time the things would cover the ground, and the roofs of all buildings.
Things to think about that the designers don’t want us to think about:
- they will find their way into storm drains and from there into the ocean.
- some will fall in waterways and from there go to the ocean.
- they will be ingested by ocean life, with foreseeable consequences.
- they will get into your nose and lungs, with unknown consequences
- birds will eat them.
- they will get into jet engines with unknown consequences
- they will soon be in your house, tracked in on your shoe mud and on your dog
- your dog and cat will eat them, with unknown consequences
- they will be on your hair when you spend a few moments outside
There is no way to collect them once they have been released, or to track them. This is truly irreversible.
The designers should not be given the power to proceed.
wonder how they report
are they like RF-tags that answer incoming radiation?
or can they TX, and what range
I think there was a similar plot point in a SF book I read. An arms race for nanobots and nanobot filters.
“Wouldn’t it be cool if we could...”
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