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General smart dust mote architecture

Power considerations
Batteries: 1 J/mm storage
Capacitors: 10 mJ/mm usable storage
Solar cells: 1 J/(mm day) in sunlight or
1-10 mJ/(mm day) indoors
Optical receiver: 0.1 nJ/bit
Optical transmitter: 1 nJ/bit
A/D converter: 1 nJ/sample
Computation: 1 pJ/instruction

1000 8-bit operations per sample will

not make a big difference in power
1 mJ per day from a solar cell indoors
will be sufficient for making a
measurement every second,
processing the result and
transmitting it.

Low-energy computation
Smaller transistors with less parasitic
capacitance consume less dynamic
Reduced supply voltage also means
less dynamic power.
Leakage currents can be decreased
by reverse biasing the channel-tosource junction.
Clock rates of 1-100 kHz are
sufficient for working with some
important types of physical signals.

Wireless communication
Radio communication currently
requires several mW of power and
preferably antennas longer than a
Semiconductor lasers and diode
receivers can use less power and are
more directional.
The Smart Dust project explored
optical communication.

Passive reflective systems

A MEMS corner cube reflector (CCR)
with a side that can be tilted
Less than 1 nJ used per transition
The mote can use the CCR to
communicate with a base station
equipped with a light source.

MEMs Controlled corner cube

retro reflector
Perfectly aligned corner cube reflects
light at the exact same direction of
MEMs control of one of the corner
cube sides alignment enables
Energy consumption of about 1pJ/bit
@ 1kb/sec
Range up to 1km

The different parts

The laser diode

The microlens

The MEM mirror

Active steered laser

Semiconductor laser
Collimating lens
MEMS steerable micromirror

Smart dust active transmitter

Incorporates a laser, lens and a MEM steering mirror
1mrad transmission
Data rate of approx. 5Mb/sec
Energy consumption depends on distance and
detector size

Base station architecture

Hand held
Cell phone

Laptop computer
Command center
Unmanned vehicle (land, sea, air)
Autonomous systems

Base station architecture

An Ultra-Low Energy Microcontroller for

Smart Dust Wireless Sensor Networks
Creators of the microcontroller
Brett A. Warneke
Kristofer S.J. Pister

Application of microcontroller
The microcontroller was developed
for this prototype smart dust mote.

Architectural features
Highly independent subsystems
Component-level clock gating in
Processor halt mode
Guarded ALU inputs
Multiple busses
Harvard architecture
Load-store RISC

Main oscillator
Runs continuously at a few kHz
Operates real time clock and five
One timer for each sensor sampling
One timer for invoking the
One timer for invoking the receiver
One timer for waking up the

ADC automation
The ADC is configurable to different
levels of automation.
At the minimum level, the sensor and
sample and hold are activated.
At the maximum level, the voltage is
compared to a threshold and, if the
threshold is exceeded, converted and
stored in the SRAM along with a time

The processor core uses two
registers to specify what memory
blocks contain data to be
The transmitter formats the data into
packets and transmits them
asynchronously to the CCR.