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E. Intelligent Dust

Narrator: : Tiny machines smaller than a human hair? It's not science fiction, it's reality. This is Science Today. Engineer Chih-Ming Ho of UCLA is working on the forefront of a new technology -- the creation of tiny machines called micro-machines.

Ho: One of the very exciting things about this technology is that it's such a new technology, and we start to talk about this and everyone can come up with new ideas every five minutes.

Narrator: : One of the most intriguing notions for the future is micro-sensors the size of dust particles that can be scattered by the thousands over a disaster site. As they move through the debris, they can sense people who are still alive and alert rescuers.

Ho: It's like dust. But a very intelligent dust which can sense all sorts of things.

Narrator: : Intelligent dust can also be embedded in paint. When the dust particles sense heat from fire, they can automatically release fire-extinguishing agents. It effect, it's a paint that puts out fires. Ho predicts that intelligent dust is only about five to ten years away from development. For Science Today, I'm Steve Tokar.