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Where do IoT and nanotechnology intersect?

Nanotechnology in IoT has an effect not only on the size of the physical devices, but also the way data is processed and communicated. IEEE member Saumya Sharma discusses.

Nanotechnology intersects with IoT systems in multiple ways, from the manufacturing of reliable sensors that form an IoT system to the nanoprocessors that compute and process data collected by IoT sensors.

The data created by IoT systems can be extremely large. To understand the scale, imagine how much data is collected just by making records of the location of our personal cellphones, health trackers and smart home devices. Plus, there is data created every time we search for something on the web. Other sources of IoT data include automobiles that record commute routes, temperature profiles and car health information; refrigerators that notate temperature and humidity within each zone of the fridge; robot vacuum cleaners that make localized maps within themselves to create spatial awareness for more effective cleaning; and sophisticated electronics used in the medical industry, such as implantable pacemakers and drug delivery devices, to name a few.

And this is just nanotechnology IoT on the consumer level. At industrial and commercial levels, far more data is generated, especially where IoT is key to maintaining quality control, monitoring equipment and more.

Simply put, massive amounts of IoT data are often created by interconnected nanodevices.

Nanotechnology is also relevant in the processing of IoT data. Nanotechnology can be used to create powerful processors and supercomputers that collect, analyze and report on the data IoT devices create.

IoT nanotechnology is also useful for creating battery systems that can sustain IoT devices without the need to charge them often, or even at all -- passive nano-IoT devices, for example, may never need charging.

Nanotechnology in IoT will also be critical in designing networking systems that enable IoT devices to communicate with each other. For example, sophisticated nanoscale embedded antenna technologies -- telephones, televisions and health tracking devices -- all use nanoscale antennas and receivers to facilitate communications.

This was last published in April 2019

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Which nanodevices has your enterprise used?
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