My father and brother in law have been working on a business for the last 9 months or so. Apparently the local university NDSU has obtained a contract to do some manufacturing of RFID tags that are made by a company called Alien Technologies. This got them thinking about ways to use RFID tags which quickly morphed into using microsensors for a variety of agricultural applications.
I have spent a little time helping them with this project which is sort of fascinating because it has an interesting application. They are deploying sensors into certain commodities to monitor environmental conditions in order to allow producers to take action to prevent shrink. In the course of this research, they have started working with a couple of companies that are very fascinating. The leader in the micro sensor space and the people who I believe coined the word "smart dust" is a company called Ember. In the time since we contacted them they have appeared in Fortune twice and really have quite a buzz. Their seed investor is Robert Metcalfe, inventor of Ethernet and Metcalfe's Law. There is really a lot here that is probably good fodder for a later post.
The other two companies that I will mention in closing that compete with Ember are Crossbow Technologies and Millenial Net.