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"The whole problem of energy sources is going to be solved by little solutions, not by some big new piece of technology that does everything. We got into this crisis by believing that we had one big piece of technology that would do everything (oil)."
- Gregory Benford

Ultraminiature Spy-Circuit  
  Tiny bits of 'smart dust' used as surveillance devices.  

Morrissey, now working the spy screen, said, "We just got a view into another part of their ship. But it faded out again."

Hammell growled. "That's the trouble with these ultraminiature spy-circuits. They drift in like dust motes, but you have no control over where they drift. An air current, or a static charge, can completely foul up your arrangements."

From The Unknown, by Christopher Anvil.
Published by Amazing Stories in 1972
Additional resources -

It's hard to control the distribution of tiny, dust-sized spy devices:

"When Hammell released the spy-circuits, some were drawn into the cruiser down there, and some went elsewhere. How is our general coverage on this part of the planet?"

"Most went elsewhere. We have a wealth of coverage where we don't want it. We've got an inside view of deserted parts of the forest, we're snooping in all the cabins we don't want to be in, we've even got a close-up view of a pot-hole at the bottom of a waterfall, with rocks and gravel grinding around inside; but we still don't have as much overlapping coverage as I'd like of that cruiser."

Compare to the distribution methods used for the recording eyes from Robert Silverberg's 1969 novel The Man in the Maze.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Unknown
  More Ideas and Technology by Christopher Anvil
  Tech news articles related to The Unknown
  Tech news articles related to works by Christopher Anvil

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