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Rodney

Techwatch: 3D Printed (battery-less) sensors for the IoT

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Can 3D printed objects (plastic or otherwise) without batteries and electronics be connected to the internet?

Apparently so although that may depend on what you define as electronics.

 

The approach uses ambient wifi to absorb or reflect signals and communicate in a binary (on/off) manner.

With this method buttons, knobs and sliders can 'talk' to each other and other devices via wireless connection.

So basically, anything that can move or rotate can relay it's current state.

 

Obviously power is present somewhere in loop of the greater system (via smartphone, router etc.) but no power is required in the sensor itself thus suggesting almost any object can become a sensor using the ambient signals already present in the air. Those signals can then be absorbed or reflected to communicate their current state.

 

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gU6-o9SIkMQ

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So now I have to worry that the buttons on my shirt are reporting on me.

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There are a few questions I have relative to this technology.

Perhaps this might be expressed by the game of 20 Questions where a series of questions is used to narrow the scope of possibilities to (inevitably) arrive at a (truthful) conclusion.

Those two variables (inevitable) and (truthful) are moving targets that deal with time and proximity.

In other words, given enough time an increasingly accurate proximity to a specified set of criteria can be deduced.

 

The first question might not count so we'll call that question zero.

Are you off or are you on?

As a signal is received by the sensor (that reflected or absorbed a given signal) it's state can be deduced.

Ah. I see you are on. Let us proceed.

Question 1: Are you animal, vegetable or mineral?

Etc. Etc.

 

What is described in the video shouldn't take 3D printing so there are some missing pieces of information here.

The 3D printing is simply a means of automating manufacturing, mass production/replication and of quality control.

This should be possible with paper.

It would seem to me the piece(s) of metal added to the object must store the capability to absorb or reflect the signal in much the same way as a tag on clothes that will sound the alarm if shoplifters try to depart a store without it being removed or deactivated.

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