The evolution of the ‘Internet of Things’: Internet of Nano Things(IONT)

iontAs soon as it is believed that a new frontier is approaching another one shows up at the horizon. In this case I’m talking about the “Internet of Nano Things”. This is a connection system based on a series of very small components capable of circular even in our body or be mixed in the materials used for the construction of buildings and things and that are connected together to exchange information.

IONT uses nano devices (comparable to one hundred nanometers), which, taken individually, are able to provide enough functionality and perform simple tasks but, if supported by IOT, may perform more complex tasks.

This new technology can be used in so different contexts. For example, in the medical field, going to integrate the body area network and allow a more accurate communication of body values as shown in the image below.

body_area_network

They can also be integrated into other components in order to have very accurate maps and rich in detail as changing light, magnetic fields, chemical concentrations in the air, electrical current etc.

Is currently being studied, the method of communication between these nano devices. There are two hypotheses on the subject:

  1. Molecular communication. The information (message) would be encoded and enclosed in a molecule and then be received and decoded by another molecule.
  2. Electromagnetic communication. The message is sent using electromagnetic radiation released by components present in nano-materials.

Unfortunately, there are not many details available about these methods of transmission and must remit the full explanation for the near future.

Although this may seem fascinating and definitely can help to improve the conditions of human life, we must also reflect on the dangers they pose to the protection of privacy and personal safety. In fact, as I nano devices are so small that they can deliberately or inadvertently be easily inhaled or introduced in the body, they may cause reactions of our immune system or be toxic. In addition, these devices can be integrated into materials for the construction of houses and other objects, even without our knowledge, and could capture and release personal information.

Internet Of Things – Risks

IoTIn 1982 a modified Coke machine at Carnegie Mellon University became the first device connected to the Internet. It was capable to provide the first information to users such as the inventory and the temperature of the new loaded drinks.

Since that day, technology made important discoveries and developments; for example today is possible to manage the house thermostat and heating an electric car on remote using an App.

Internet of Things (IoT) will be more present in our homes. Indeed, recent technology developments will lead to new innovations such as: contactless sensor systems for large areas, which track people’s movements and are capable to switch on and off lights in rooms or opening doors for us. Furthermore, Samsung announced the project for transparent touch screen to replace window glass, etc.

The aim of IoT is to increase our quality of life but at what cost? In brief, IoT is the network of physical smart objects (e.g. devices, buildings, vehicles), it captures data (human behaviors) and it takes actions based on settings, programmed by users. With the present speed of innovation, people will rely even more on IoT  for their daily needs. We are making less things by our self and we use someone else workforce or using products ready but why? After WWII, and for many decades, it was a common practice to self-build the house with help of friends and family but we lost this and today the majority of people prefer use a mortgage (in the worst-case scenario stay in debt for 35 years with high rate) and buy from a builder a “ready to go” product. I remember, my grandmother she used to cook everything by herself, making extraordinary food and cakes. My mother did the same but we lost something after this generation. Today it is common practice buying pre-made food because we are too busy with other stuff, we use housekeepers (for who can afford) because we are too busy with other stuff, we use baby sitters because we have important stuff to do, etc. Nowadays, we use technology because, in theory, it gives more free time but still I hear people saying they do not have enough time for themselves. We rely on technology because it cannot be wrong, indeed it executes our orders and it is reliable for delivery.

The interesting part of all these technology developments is that humans give up their expertise and rely on something else and with this delegation they lose the control of decisions and of the actions. Imagine what could happen if just the traffic lights of our city were faulty; would drivers still able to drive or it would generate a chaos? Major cities are implementing smart traffic lights capable to switch to green light or to red light based on the cars in line.

IoT includes the exchange of information between smart devices and for most of the times this happen without user knowledge. This information is digital data that create a security problem: who can access these info and for what purpose? Indeed, smart-buildings and smart-devices, even if they are intelligent objects, could still become vulnerable to sabotage. Today, hackers can steal personal information but what would happen if the house is completely automated and intelligent?