Monday, July 17, 2006

Ubiquitous Surveillance Draws Nigh

Perhaps I've been reading too much sci-fi lately, but HP's new Memory Spot technology seems awfully close to the localizers in Vernor Vinge's A Deepness in the Sky. [I originally mis-cited this as A Fire Upon the Deep.-BL]
Note that these chips can:
1) Be charged by a distributed field
2) Read and write information

With little modification, then such chips could also:
1) Execute stored instructions (run a program)
2) Record sensor information (they are powered after all)

All those second two require is a different chip. Just how small can you make a GPS chip? Actually, if these were transmitting wirelessly to even a pair of devices (although 3+ would be preferrable) you would be able to "localize" or identify where each one was. Even if the signals were being relayed by other Memory Spots. Triangulation of tagged electromagnetic signals is the basis of radar.

Now, if each of these tagged signals was transmitting information (temperature, pressure, chemical makeup of current environment) you would have smart dust.

If anyone needs me, I'll be working on my Faraday cage.