30 May 2016

Bio-NanoThings: beyong the Internet of Thing

Internet of Things (IoT) is under the spot since a few years. With the development of IoT, any object will be empowered with intelligence and with the capabilities to interconnect with any other object, machine and people anywhere, anytime. Several applications are envisioned today: from health to domotics, from energy management to security to types of digital enterprises.

Moreover while IoT foresees billion of things potentially communicating with one another, the Internet with Things (IwT) foresees a growing number (in the hundreds of millions initially, to become hundreds of billion) of objects that will become accessible to human beings through the Internet. The IwT shares several technologies and architectures with the IoT although the “communications interface” should be adapted to meet human needs and the form factor of the object matters since the object is “visible” and its physical characteristics are a selling point, as important as its functionality. In the IoT the functionalities exposed are the ones designed by the producer of the “T”; in the IwT a significant number of functionalities will be mashed up by third parties.

This evolution will have a deep impact from a socio-economic viewpoint, influencing economy development as a whole, public institutions, social relations, diffusion of information, privacy of citizens, etc. This evolution raises technical challenges and important socio-economic issues for stakeholders to consider: from simplifying such emerging complexity when managing future networks to identifying new business opportunities and models. 

But there is another new trend, which I believe will be even more impactful: the Internet of Bio-NanoThings, which in some way strictly related to my last post on the Microbiome. 

Have a look at this impressive paper of my friend Ian F. Akyildiz:

Paper presen the novel paradigm of the Internet of Bio-Nano Things (IoBNT), stemming from synthetic biology and nanotechnology tools that allow the engineering of biological embedded computing devices. 

Bio-NanoThings will enable applications such as intra-body sensing and actuation networks, and environmental control of toxic agents and pollution. It is definitely a paradigm-shifting concept for communication and network engineering, where novel challenges have to be faced: e.g., the definition of information for biological devices, efficient and safe techniques for the exchange of biological information, interaction, and networking within the biochemical domain, while enabling an interface to
the electrical domain of the Internet.