Microcomputers fine as dust that draw energy from their surroundings can detect light, pressure and temperature to provide intelligence from remote and hostile sites, explains Michael Abrams. The Micro Motes developed at the University of Michigan tap into existing technology, with the key advance coming in the ability to get all the parts to work together. "What we have today is millimeter scale computing systems that integrate all of the essential features... They communicate wirelessly and harvest energy autonomously," said Prabal Dutta, an assistant professor at the university.

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