Smart Dust is a technology first imagined by the RAND Corporation in 1992 and then discovered Honore City on Mars in 1997. Analysis of the recovered samples in various laboratories around the world allowed scientists to understand the design and the first samples were produced by Intel in 2001, followed by Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation in Shanghai in 2002.
Single Smart Dust motes, or Nodes, are highly integrated platforms integrating a single core micro-controller, various small scale sensors, actuators and networking capabilities. Energy for the system is provided by various forms of energy harvesting, from temperature differences, over EM radiation to light. The single Nodes connect through their networking capabilities into an ad hoc Mesh Network.
With a number of hardwired programs, it is still possible to load custom programs into the Nodes, to allow them to be used in various roles. Common uses for Smart Dust today are environmental sensing in space habitats, large scale surveys of areas for natural resources and the Shrivatsa System.
Somewhat specialized is the use of Smark Dust Nodes in Volumetric Display Tanks, where Nodes are floating suspended with in a transparent tanks of paraffin oil. The size of the nodes is small enough to display high quality 3 dimensional images and are much more energy efficient than holographic emitters.
Modern biometric indentification also makes use of the sensing capabilities of Smart Dust Nodes, allowing for much less error for the identification of persons of various species.
There are also at least two instances of AGIs developing in a Smart dust network.
Over the past hundred years Smart Dust has become more or more standardized, with a single core ARM derived main processor with 4 to 32MB of RAM and 8 to 64MB of program and data memory. Depending on the desired use the physical size of the Smart Dust node can vary from 1mm³ to less than 10μm³. Smart Dust is produced in vast quantities by specialized Fabricators and one kg of the 1mm³ class Smart Dust can be purchased by 10€.