Skip navigation
D. The Expanding Role of Microsensors in Scientific Observation

Narrator: This is Science Today. The development of wireless microsensor networks may change the traditional, human observation approach towards science. David Culler, a computer science professor at the University of California, Berkeley, says microsensors can provide the richest picture of an environment ever seen.

Culler: Sensors are things that respond to the physical world and generate electrical signals. And today you can build these very, very tiny structures on a chip that can do that. Examples, temperature, light, humidity, barometric pressure, motion, acceleration, vibration, increasingly, chemical sensors, biological sensors.

Narrator: Culler says there are a number of applications for this technology.

Culler: We're looking for example at monitoring the Golden Gate Bridge. Today there's 75 sensors spread across the bridge. You can imagine having thousands, perhaps maybe even a million sensors, that really would allow people looking at that structure to see how the pieces of it interact, so that they could see how it twists and bends and what parts are fatiguing.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.