Dandelion Tech

Ahhh. . . Time to stop and smell the flowers.  Or count them?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

A hike can be lovely AND informative… but there are spots we just can’t reach. That’s not just a problem for hikers. Climatologists also need to get to hard to reach places to make critical environmental measurements. Maybe the WIND can give us a push?

That gave Shyam Gollakota and team at the University of Washington a TEENSY TINY idea…

They developed a solar-powered sensor to monitor climate factors, like temperature and humidity. And it’s the size of a dandelion seed! It has a unique ring shape with spokes like a wheel, and is dropped by a drone.

These dandelion sensors can float one hundred meters in the wind and share data sixty meters out! I’m BLOWN away!

Researchers believe this sensor breakthrough can make gathering data faster AND cheaper. Don’t worry, researchers aren’t deploying them until they are as BIODEGRADABLE as dandelions, too!

So, make a wish! I wish… it wasn’t so bloody hot!

Reference: Iyer, V., Gaensbauer, H., Daniel, T.L. et al. Wind dispersal of battery-free wireless devices. Nature 603, 427–433 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-04363-9