Scanning probe microscopy has yielded extraordinary advances in our ability to characterize surfaces at the atomic scale. These advances are paralleled by improvements in computational methods and platforms that now yield realistically complex multi-scale models of deposition processes. Combining these developments, it might now be possible to sense the dynamic state of an atomic surface, consulting with models to analyze the path of a deposition process. This real-time information might allow us to tweak the growing materials towards particularly unique and desirable final configurations. What we are largely missing are sensors that can monitor atomic scale evolution without, themselves, compromising the commercial deposition process. In a manufacturing environment, sensors cannot shadow the deposition process or contaminate the material. They cannot add significantly to the complexity of the deposition tool nor require that tool's extensive redesign. Importantly (at least over the long term) the sensors cannot even require us, that is, highly trained (and paid) individuals to operate and interpret their data!