Word on the street is that Abu Musab al Zarqawi (a/k/a al-Zarqawi), who was done in last Wednesday during an air strike on his ‘safe’ (not) house, was dusted by “smart dust”. Dusted in at least two senses of the word, that is.
The supposition is that al-Zarqawi, during a close encounter of a dusting kind with an allied operative, was sprinkled with fairy dust (ok, smart dust), enabling allied forces to track his every move, and know exactly where he was at any given moment.
Now, of course, you could never do that over here, without a court order, because of the Constitution. I mean, you couldn’t, right? Right?
According to some sources, Iraqi locals were even aware of the smart dust, which some viewed more as “magic dust”. But really, there is no magic about it, and the same (or roughly the same) technology has been used more and more in civilian applications over here.
Explained Computer World, back in 2003, “‘Smart dust’ devices are tiny wireless microelectromechanical sensors (MEMS) that can detect everything from light to vibrations. Thanks to recent breakthroughs in silicon and fabrication techniques, these “motes” could eventually be the size of a grain of sand, though each would contain sensors, computing circuits, bidirectional wireless communications technology and a power supply. Motes would gather scads of data, run computations and communicate that information using two-way band radio between motes at distances approaching 1,000 feet.”
In their simplest form RFIDs, dust motes, smart dust, smart chips, etc., all operate, for lay purpose, on much the same principle. They carry with them simple information, such as (usually) a single numeric identifier, which can be transmitted back to a mother ship, helping the mother ship to know exactly where the transmitter – and whatever is attached to it – are at any given time.
Or the transmission of the number can be used as a password to unlock anything from your computer to your door (or, if you are Amal Grafstra, with an RFID implanted in your hand, both).
Or, to dust you, when you’ve been dusted with the dust.