Narrator: This is Science Today. In the near
future, robotic, airborne sensors the size of a grain
of sand may be able to transmit an accurate picture
of the atmosphere. Kris Pister, a professor of electrical
engineering and computer sciences at the University
of California, Berkeley, says this is based on integrated
circuit technology - the same technology used to make
Pister: There's a new family of processes that are called MEMS, or Micro ElectroMechanical Systems. That allows us to actually make sensors and little motors right alongside the integrated circuits. And so we can make on a single chip, something that has the ability to sense the environment, to think about it and to take some kind of action on it as well.
Narrator: One of the actions it can take is
Pister: So we have the ability to transmit information and to receive information all from this little sliver of silicon. So, one of the things we're doing is making these things small enough so that they will actually float in air. And so you can imagine making little weather sensors that sense perhaps temperature or humidity or barometric pressure and making millions of them and scattering them in the atmosphere.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.