Researchers at Northwestern University in the US have presented tiny winged microchips that, when dispersed in the air, could help monitor pollution or disease in specific areas.
An article published on the Nature science journal website, explains that the idea would be to "disperse" these tiny winged microchips into the air, in both urban and natural environments. Like seeds scattered by the wind, these miniature electronic chips would collect valuable data. According to the researchers behind the invention, they could form the basis of future systems for monitoring the environment or even the population, in the context of disease management, for example.
To achieve this, the microchips are installed in small 3D flying structures with miniature wing blades made of biodegradable materials. These wireless and battery-free devices would also have colorimetric sensors capable of providing useful environmental measurements. Indeed, the devices could analyze the quality of air or water, and detect the presence of viruses, etc.
For the moment, this project is still in its infancy in the university's laboratory, but the aim is to test it quickly and to explore and identify other potential uses.
Check out the new technology in this video: youtu.be/3me68t6Kh0I