n. Tiny airborne devices containing sensors and communications capabilities.
Dr. Kris Pister, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, is among the scientists who aim to give microbatteries a trial run with a wireless network based on MEMS technology. Dr. Pister is the inventor of smart dust, or networked airborne motes of silicon that are designed to sense, measure and transmit data like temperature, humidity and light intensity.
The same technological advances that make computers smaller and faster every year are the driving forces behind smart dust. Like semiconductors — the brains of computers — each mote will be carved entirely of silicon.
The Pentagon has a proposal for fighting dirty in the future: clouds of "smart dust" that could track enemy troops or check for dangerous chemicals. The tiny particles, about 1 millimeter wide by 1 centimeter long, could be shot into the air in a bullet and fall slowly in a cloudlike mass, according to Defense News, a weekly newspaper.
Individually, and appropriately, these devices are called motes.