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3D-printed objects function using Wi-Fi, no need for batteries

Image: Printed Wi-Fi/University of Washington

Three researchers from the University of Washington, United States have found a way to 3D-print objects that can function using only Wi-Fi, with no need to be plugged into power sources or use batteries.

Vikram Iyer, Justin Chan and Shyam Gollakota call their process “Printed Wi-Fi.” The objects created from this achieve connectivity by either absorbing or reflecting ambient Wi-Fi signals. Absorbing or reflecting these signals through conductive filaments allow the objects to communicate wirelessly by conveying either zeros or ones – the binary system used by all electronic devices.

As proof of concept, the researchers printed out several objects like a button which turns on a computer, a knob which scrolls through an internet browser window, and a slider which could control the volume.

Image: Printed Wi-Fi/University of Washington

They even created a flow meter for liquid detergents which automatically orders a new bottle online when it detects low supply on the current one.

Image: Printed Wi-Fi/University of Washington

Watch the video below for a demonstration of the 3D-printed items.

Those interested in trying out Printed Wi-Fi for themselves could review a digital copy of the study through this link. JB

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