Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



TECH SPACE
In first, 3-D printed objects connect to WiFi without electronics
by Staff Writers
Seattle WA (SPX) Dec 07, 2017


UW engineers have developed the first 3-D printed plastic objects that can connect to other devices via WiFi without using any electronics. The 3-D printed attachment above can sense how much laundry soap is being used - and automatically order more when the bottle is running low.

Imagine a bottle of laundry detergent that can sense when you're running low on soap - and automatically connect to the internet to place an order for more.

University of Washington researchers are the first to make this a reality by 3-D printing plastic objects and sensors that can collect useful data and communicate with other WiFi-connected devices entirely on their own.

With CAD models that the team is making available to the public, 3-D printing enthusiasts will be able to create objects out of commercially available plastics that can wirelessly communicate with other smart devices. That could include a battery-free slider that controls music volume, a button that automatically orders more cornflakes from Amazon or a water sensor that sends an alarm to your phone when it detects a leak.

"Our goal was to create something that just comes out of your 3-D printer at home and can send useful information to other devices," said co-lead author and UW electrical engineering doctoral student Vikram Iyer. "But the big challenge is how do you communicate wirelessly with WiFi using only plastic? That's something that no one has been able to do before."

The system is described in a paper presented Nov. 30 at the Association for Computing Machinery's SIGGRAPH Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques in Asia.

To 3-D print objects that can communicate with commercial WiFi receivers, the team employed backscatter techniques that allow devices to exchange information. In this case, the team replaced some functions normally performed by electrical components with mechanical motion activated by springs, gears, switches and other parts that can be 3-D printed - borrowing from principles that allow battery-free watches to keep time.

Backscatter systems use an antenna to transmit data by reflecting radio signals emitted by a WiFi router or other device. Information embedded in those reflected patterns can be decoded by a WiFi receiver. In this case, the antenna is contained in a 3-D printed object made of conductive printing filament that mixes plastic with copper.

Physical motion - pushing a button, laundry soap flowing out of a bottle, turning a knob, removing a hammer from a weighted tool bench - triggers gears and springs elsewhere in the 3-D printed object that cause a conductive switch to intermittently connect or disconnect with the antenna and change its reflective state.

Information - in the form of 1s and 0s - is encoded by the presence or absence of the tooth on a gear. Energy from a coiled spring drives the gear system, and the width and pattern of gear teeth control how long the backscatter switch makes contact with the antenna, creating patterns of reflected signals that can be decoded by a WiFi receiver.

"As you pour detergent out of a Tide bottle, for instance, the speed at which the gears are turning tells you how much soap is flowing out. The interaction between the 3-D printed switch and antenna wirelessly transmits that data," said senior author and Allen School associate professor Shyam Gollakota. "Then the receiver can track how much detergent you have left and when it dips below a certain amount, it can automatically send a message to your Amazon app to order more."

The team from the UW Networks and Mobile Systems Lab 3-D printed several different tools that were able to sense and send information successfully to other connected devices: a wind meter, a water flow meter and a scale. They also printed a flow meter that was used to track and order laundry soap, and a test tube holder that could be used for either managing inventory or measuring the amount of liquid in each test tube.

They also 3-D printed WiFi input widgets such as buttons, knobs and sliders that can be customized to communicate with other smart devices in the home and enable a rich ecosystem of "talking objects" that can seamlessly sense and interact with their surroundings.

Using a different type of 3-D printing filament that combines plastic with iron, the team also leveraged magnetic properties to invisibly encode static information in 3-D printed objects - which could range from barcode identification for inventory purposes or information about the object that tells a robot how to interact with it.

"It looks like a regular 3-D printed object but there's invisible information inside that can be read with your smartphone," said Allen School doctoral student and co-lead author Justin Chan.

TECH SPACE
3-D-printed prosthetic implants could improve treatment for hearing loss
Washington DC (SPX) Dec 07, 2017
Researchers using CT scans and 3-D printing have created accurate, custom-designed prosthetic replacements for damaged parts of the middle ear, according to a study being presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). The technique has the potential to improve a surgical procedure that often fails because of incorrectly sized prosthetic implants, resea ... read more

Related Links
University of Washington
Space Technology News - Applications and Research


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

TECH SPACE
Tech titans ramp up tools to win over children

Aerospace and Mitchell Institute release new report on policy needs for space operations

UAE launches programme to send astronauts into space

China pushed global patent filings to record high in 2016: UN

TECH SPACE
SpaceX's Elon Musk to launch his own car into deep space

ISRO eyes one rocket launch a month in 2018

Russia to build launch pad for super heavy-lift carrier by 2028

Flat-Earther's self-launch plan hits a snag

TECH SPACE
EU exempts fuel for ExoMars mission from Russian sanctions

Mars Rover Team's Tilted Winter Strategy Works

Brown: Clay on Mars May Have Formed in Primordial Steam Bath

Winter wanderings put Opportunity at 28 Miles on the odometer

TECH SPACE
Nation 'leads world' in remote sensing technology

China plans for nuclear-powered interplanetary capacity by 2040

China plans first sea based launch by 2018

China's reusable spacecraft to be launched in 2020

TECH SPACE
Regulation and compliance for nontraditional space missions

Orbital ATK purchase by Northrop Grumman approved by shareholders

UK space launch program receives funding boost from Westminster

Going green to the Red Planet

TECH SPACE
Penn researchers establish universal signature fundamental to how glassy materials fail

In first, 3-D printed objects connect to WiFi without electronics

Better mastery of heat flow leads to next-generation thermal cloaks

3-D-printed minifactories

TECH SPACE
Two Super-Earths around red dwarf K2-18

A New Spin to Solving Mystery of Stellar Companions

The CHEOPS scientific instrument is complete

Discovery about rare nitrogen molecules offers clues to makeup of life-supporting planets

TECH SPACE
Wrapping up 2017 one year out from MU69

Jupiter Blues

Research bolsters possibility of plate tectonics on Europa

Pluto's hydrocarbon haze keeps dwarf planet colder than expected




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement