I liked this concept reported on in BBC Technology about using swarms of sensors to create a type of electronic or "smart skin."
Like nerves in our human skin, multitudes of sensors placed on anything that we want to monitor, could create a sensing/feeling and reporting mechanism for evaluating the health or condition of that thing.
Rather than wait for something to fail or break, we could actively collect information on changes in "temperature, strain, and movement" and other environmental impacts to analyze and predict any issues and proactively address them with countermeasures, maintenance, or fixes.
As human beings, we are architected with regular monitoring and self-healing biological systems to protect ourselves from daily dangers around us, we can develop homes, factories, transport, robots, and everything important around us with similar properties to be more durable, last longer and be more productive.
When we emulate in our own development efforts what G-d has created for the good in the world, we are on the right track. ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)