Searchable USB flash drives

Recently I was revisiting a powerful open source search engine technology on a Ben NanoNote to see how well it performed. Bearing in mind the NanoNote is only equipped with 32MB of RAM and a 336MHz MIPS processor it performed admirably. As a proof of concept I took the PDF lecture slides from three MIT OpenCoureWare undergraduate modules and indexed them on the device. This part of the process is time consuming but only needs to take place once. As you can see from the following video (OGG format), searching the PDFs is rapid and there should be no problem scaling to thousands of documents.

One nice feature of connecting the NanoNote to your PC is that you are able to access the search engine through your PC’s web browser. This becomes close to something I have thought about for a while – a copyleft designed USB flash drive with embedded web server and search engine. This would allow you to take your documents with you and view them using a familiar g**gle style search on any PC you get access to (in theory) without relying on the host OS to do the work.

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