Smart dust is one of the more exciting implementations of the sensor web, where sensors communicate with one another wirelessly to expand our understanding of the Earth’s systems. French researchers have developed miniaturized sensors in their lab that will allow them to collect data about the motion of fluid systems such as ocean currents and atmospheric winds.
The research team has developed a number of two-centimeter probes that float freely underwater to measure flow and temperature and send back readings wirelessly. The researchers have used the probes to track the paths of tiny heat packets that travel through fluids, showing that the packets follow a regular pattern. They are hopeful that these devices will unravel secrets about the motion of particles in turbulent systems, including hurricanes and mixtures of reactive chemicals.
The work ofÂ the physicists at the UniverisitÃ© de Lyon was reported in Science Daily yesterday, and will appear in an upcoming issue of Physical Review.