Wednesday, October 02, 2013

3D-Printing + The Internet Of Things = Future of Things

Carnegie Mellon and Microsoft Research may bring 3D printing and the Internet of Things together without the limitations of RFID or visual encoding. Using 3D printing, researchers are looking at building unique three-dimensional codes right inside the material of the object.

What could that mean?  The ability to directly embed readable codes directly within objects that any object created in such a fashion could immediately be a part of the Internet of Things (I've discussed the IoT in the past, too). The example used by Carnegie Mellon's Karl D.D. Willis for the InfraStruct project was a robot equipped with a terahertz scanner that could seek out and find an encoded object.

That might be a vacuum cleaner trying to avoid some toys on the floor, or a factory robot seeking the exact part it needs to deliver to the assembly line. For all kinds of robotics applications, that kind of functionality would be phenomenal.

Brian Proffitt from Read Write Web believes envisions this kind of scanning technology could be used for the printed-on-demand medical devices.  Can you imagine a day when an object can be manufactured within minutes right at the healthcare facility, instead of waiting for days to get the device delivered from a factory?  I can - but first let's look at how the IoT can think.