Smart Dew is networked burglar alarm

Will banks move to Smart Dew burglar alarms?
Will banks move to Smart Dew burglar alarms?

A new invention from Tel Aviv University, a network of tiny sensors as small as dewdrops called Smart Dew, is claimed to foil even the most determined intruder.

Scattered outdoors on rocks, fence posts and doorways, or indoors on the floor of a bank, the high-tech dewdrops could prove to be a new and cost-effective alternative to traditional burglar alarms.

Dozens, hundreds or even thousands of the Smart Dew sensors, each of which is equipped with a controller and radio frequency transmitter/receiver, can also be wirelessly networked to detect the difference between man, animal, car and lorry.

Dew belong here or are you an intruder?

"We've created a generic system that has no scale limitations," says Professor Shapira of the engineering faculty. "This makes it especially useful for large farms or even the national borders where it's difficult to install fences or constantly patrol them."

Each individual 'dew droplet' can detect an intrusion within a parameter of 50 meters. And at a cost of just 17 pence per droplet, Professor Shapira says that his solution is the cheapest and the smartest on the market.

Part of Smart Dew's appeal is its near-invisibility, says Professor Shapira: "Because the sensors in the Smart Dew wireless network are so small, you would need bionic vision to notice them. There would be so many tiny droplets over the monitored area that it would be impossible to find each and every one."

Scaling down sensors

Unlike conventional alarm systems, each droplet of Smart Dew can be programmed to monitor a different condition. Sounds could be picked up by a miniature microphone, or the metal in cars could be detected by a magnetic sensor.

Smart Dew droplets could also be programmed to detect temperature changes, carbon monoxide emissions, vibrations or light.

Each droplet sends a radio signal to a base station that collects and analyses the data, sending an alarm signal out via hard wiring or a mobile phone.

Mark Harris is Senior Research Director at Gartner.