How can the physical objects of tomorrow be embedded with information? As digital fabrication technologies, such as 3D printing, rapidly scale and expand – how do these objects become readable and interactive in the digital world? InfraStructs, are material-based passive tags that embed machine-readable information in the interior of physical objects. InfraStructs combine the unique capability of digital fabrication to create one-off geometric structures, with the see-through ability of terahertz imaging to read volumetric information.

Terahertz imaging can safely penetrate many common materials, including plastics used with 3D printing. By varying material geometry within an object, hidden information can be used in applications ranging from inventory control, to real-time game interaction, to virtually any system linking physical objects to the digital world. InfraStructs open up new possibilities for the design and manufacture of highly customized physical objects already embedded with machine-readable information.

Created by: Karl D.D. Willis & Andrew D. Wilson at Microsoft Research.

Research Paper: InfraStructs: Fabricating Information Inside Physical Objects for Imaging in the Terahertz Region

Special Thanks: Picometrix, Zomega

Selected Press: Gizmodo, GigaOM, Wired, GeekWire, IEEE Spectrum, Forbes

InfraStructs Prototypes

InfraStruct 3D Code

Inventory Control

System Overview

InfraStruct Tag Structure

Terahertz Imaging System

InfraStruct Tag Designs

Random Void InfraStruct Tag

Example Playhouse Application

Gray Code InfraStruct Tag

Example Gaming Shield Application

Prototype InfraStruct Tags

Matrix InfraStruct Tag

Example Mobile Robot Application

Visual InfraStruct Tag

Decoded Visual InfraStruct Tag