March 18, 2002
Regents hear about two Centers for Science and Innovation
By Charles McFadden, UC Office of the
University of California Regents heard about "smart dust" and California's
robust scientific future March 13 during a presentation on two of the university's
Centers for Science and Innovation.
d motion and let a computer know about it. They are being developed at the Center
for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society, (CITRIS) made up
of scientists from UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley, UC Davis and, eventually, UC Merced.
"Smart dust" is the nickname for tiny devices that can sense temperature
Ruzena Bajcsy, director of CITRIS, told the Regents the information gathering-and-relaying
little devices were recently dropped from a helicopter near a road in the Southern
California desert. After they landed, they hooked up with a computer network and
reported movement on the road to an airplane that had been monitoring them.
Eventually, the devices will be made small enough to fit inside the "D"
below the date on a Denver-minted penny.
Research at CITRIS has expanded to include homeland defense since the Sept. 11 terrorist
attacks, Bajcsy told the Regents.
CITRIS is one of four UC Centers for Science and Innovation created two years ago
by Gov. Gray Davis. They are financed by a combination of state, federal and private
funds. They will concentrate on science and innovation that are of special importance
to California's high-tech economy.
Economists have attributed 50 percent of U.S. economic growth since World War II
to investments in research and development.
Also speaking to the Regents was Larry Smarr, director of the Institute for Telecommunications
and Information Technology. That Institute is headquartered at UC San Diego, with
UC Irvine as a participating partner.
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