We've seen a fair bit of mesh networking
approaches lately, and thanks to a unusual project going on at the University of California, Berkeley, the next great ad hoc network could be started by a horde of bugs. Sarah Bergbreiter has developed an "autonomous robotic flea has been developed that is capable of jumping nearly 30 times its height," thanks to what could possibly be hailed as the "world's smallest rubber band." Interestingly, the creator hopes that the minuscule bugs could eventually be used to "create networks of distributed sensors for detecting chemicals or for military-surveillance purposes." The Smart Dust initiative could eventually be expanded to grow wings, but for now the solar-powered bugger will stick to hoppin'
via a "microcontroller to govern its behavior and a series of micro electromechanical systems (MEMS
) motors on a silicon substrate."