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3D researchers print objects connected to WiFi that do not need power

To do this, the team used things like 3D printed springs, gears and switches that could be used to translate movement into antenna-transmitted information. For example, they created an anemometer, which measures the wind speed, and connected it to a gear. When the gear rotates, the teeth connect with an antenna embedded in the object and that antenna then reflects the environmental WiFi signal, which can be decoded using a WiFi receiver. The faster the wind, the faster the gear rotates and the faster these signals are transmitted. They also created a scale and a flow meter that can measure the speed of water.

In addition, they printed three widgets (a button, a knob, and a slider) that work similarly and can be used to talk with other smart devices. . The researchers also developed two smart objects: a detergent bottle with an attached flow meter that can track the amount of detergent remaining and order it when it is low and a test tube holder that can be used to measure the number of liquid test tubes that it contains track inventory. And, finally, they developed a way to print iron on 3D objects in different patterns, which when read with a magnetometer on a smartphone, for example, can be used to convey important information about that object, such as what it is, who he did or how a robot is supposed to interact with him. "It looks like a normal object printed in 3D, but there's invisible information inside that you can read with your smartphone," said Justin Chan, another student of the project.

The team makes their 3D models available to the public so that anyone can use these objects at home. The work was recently presented at the SIGGRAPH Conference and Exhibition of the Computer Graphics Association on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques in Asia and you can see a video about the work below.

Image: Mark Stone / UW Photography

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