On Maine's Great Duck Island, scientists studying small sea birds called Leach's storm petrels are using a network of tiny wireless sensors embedded in the birds' nests to gather information. The sensors, or "motes," are used to monitor environmental conditions around the nesting burrows. One day, they could form the basis for intelligent wireless networks capable of harvesting a wide range of information from their surroundings. Applications could be as diverse as agricultural management, earthquake monitoring and military operations. Intel Research Berkeley is one of four university "lablets" that the chip maker set up to identify technologies worthy of "acceleration and amplification.
The use of new wireless technologies is helping manufacturing companies do things they never could before. Large manufacturing facilities are using IT and shop floor integration to access valuable, real-time data on work processes. As Phil Hochmuth writes, companies such as GM have effectively deployed sensor networks that monitor processes and wirelessly transmit crucial data to technicians