Best way to control many seperate but identical devices remotly?

I need to control many (hundreds to thousands) small devices within a meter by computer so that i can program them and control them simultaneusly. cannot put a microcontroller in the devices, whats best bluetooth, radio waves, infra red? Any sujestions? I need to make the interface to the transmitter USB. I also need to recieve measurements from each device in real time and be able to differentiate for both the data and the devices since i will be controlling them and also recieving information from them. Any ideas?

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orksecurity6 years ago
Bluetooth _is_ "radio waves", just a particular communication protocol across them and a particular set of frequencies.

Radio is probably the answer, since that many devices in a small area are likely to block each other's view of IR.

Distinguishing the measurements is going to be extremely ugly unless each device is on a separate frequency or is silent until polled.

Commanding all those devices "simultaneously" is similarly going to be extremely ugly unless each device is on a separate frequency or you're only actively sending commands to one at a time. Of course the latter is how the computer would want to handle it anyway.

Frankly, I'd use a single frequency, a digital communications protocol, and a cheap microcontroller chip in each object. The radio hardware alone is likely to be expensive enough that the cost of the controllers is negligable.
amelius (author)  orksecurity6 years ago
Unfortunately I do not have the option of using a mircocontroller unless you can give me a schematic since i'm building this on a small scale, please don't ask me to elaborate. I need to either make the microcontroller or have an alternative, i know this sounds like a rediculous thing but the size of microcontroller i would need would be a half a micron. I understand that bluetoth is simply a communication protocol, i understand that it will be ugly which is why i need help. That is the same problem i am trying to figure out. with any communication how to differentiat the i/o signals, i can build a usb interface but still i need some sort of universal piece of circuity since it is ideal to have identical nanites. and don't tell me this is rediculous or to get a degree. Thanks :)!
Half a micron? You'd better get a pro involved, if you don't want to become that expert... because hiring the expertise is going to be the LEAST of your costs.
amelius (author)  orksecurity6 years ago
I won't mind to become an expert and I do have the costs. I am in possession of an atomic force microscope. If thats not enought I don't know what it......
It isn't. You're talking about building semiconductor circuits. While it is theoretically possible to assemble them atom by atom (assuming you have an AFM which can pick/drop atoms -- and most of those are limited as to which atoms they can move around), in practice that would be an extremely slow and labor-intensive way to do it -- as in, you're talking about not just several years of college-level courses to understand circuit design on this level, but probably many more years to actually move enough atoms to create a functioning circuit.

It's an interesting fantasy, and maybe someday it will be possible -- buf for now I'm not convinced it's possible and I *AM* convinced it's impractical.

If you're trying to validate an idea for use in an SF story -- sure, go for it. If you're thinking about the real world, try again a few decades from now.
amelius (author)  orksecurity6 years ago
That the thing i don't wish to wait for someone else to figure it out. I wish to be the first. Now the reason i was thinking such a large size relatively is because i wanted to avoid quantum effects that happen on smaller levels. If you could direct me to some resources i would be very thankful. I actually do also have all the equipment you need for photolithography as well. And If there is an alternative to building semiconductor circuits it would also be an interesting area to explore. Also, how small could one go to avoid quantum effects on circuitry? I mean you know, insulators acting like semiconductors and such...
amelius (author)  amelius6 years ago
Unfortunatly, the Photolithography equipment is rather coarse, only 10 micron resolution. any sujestions? I'm trying to use this for atomic level assebly. I'm planning to do something similar to an STM inside each tiny machine to contruct larger structures, like a small factory using STMs to mainly move atoms and then connect them. I guess 10 microns wouldn't be to large a size....
amelius (author)  amelius6 years ago
Also, if the circuit can be shrunk even farther so that the features are less than 100 nm one can use scanning probe lithography for features that size. If only i could find someone who knows how to actually do scanning probe lithography....
Its beyond state of the art, and beyond your skill set.
Which means that if you want to be the first to figure it out, you should focus on getting into the best college you can and getting the best grades you can so you can get into a research group which might (or might not) get you there.

Figure a decade of study and serious hard work as a starting point. Then add however many years it takes to actually find the solution. Could be a life's work.
"If it was easy and obvious, someone would probably already have done it." That isn't always true, as patent office filings prove, but it's generally the way to bet.

Corrolary: "If it was easy, they wouldn't pay me as much as they do." Though that's in a different field.
Along those lines, with XBee radios, you could have over 65,000 devices on a single network.

The XBee is a sort of simple microcontroller itself, in that it can have analog and digital I/O, but isn't programmable in the usual sense of an Arduino or similar controller.

So a PC with an USB/XBee adapter and an XBee in each small device may solve the problem.