Internet connected sensors have gone from millimetres to microns to nanometers
Powered by mass connectivity, the Internet of Things continues to expand rapidly. Internet connected devices are becoming increasingly vital to supply chains, production lines, as well as everyday appliances. By next year, there will be an estimated 30 billion connected things. As sensor technology gets smaller and more efficient, a new generation of internet connected devices has emerged… The Internet of Nano Things (IoNT).
The IoNT is a nano scale network of physical objects that exchange information via nano communications. It is made up of nano nodes, nano routers, nano micro interface devices and gateways. The nano nodes transmit data, while the nano routers aggregate that data and send it to nano micro interface devices. The gateway enables network-wide, internet connected control. Nano sensors, in which data collection and transmission takes place, can be mixed directly into materials and gather data where current sensor technology struggles. For example, nano sensors in the body can collect information about biological activity. Other applications include nano manufacturing, energy solutions, and precision agriculture.
There are obvious technological challenges to the mass adoption of the IoNT, including the integration of different components and their general robustness in intended environments. Other major issues are privacy, security and adoption – and will people be comfortable eating food that has been embedded with nano sensors? There are also broader concerns ethically and environmentally – how will nano products react with organic materials? Due to these barriers, fully fledged nano thing networks are yet to be deployed. However, the IoNT market is expected to reach $9.69bn by 2020 which suggests it won’t be long before we see the IoNT flourish. Key nanotechnology players include IBM, Intel, Qualcomm, and Siemens.
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