The same 3D printing process used to produce an object can simultaneously generate an internal, invisible tag, say scientists at Carnegie Mellon University and Microsoft Research.

The internal tags, which the researchers have dubbed InfraStructs, are read with an imaging system using terahertz (THz) radiation, which safely penetrate many common materials. In proof-of-concept experiments, Karl Willis, a recent Ph.D. graduate in computational design at Carnegie Mellon, and Andy Wilson, a principal researcher at Microsoft Research, have demonstrated several possible tag designs and the THz imaging and data processing steps necessary to read them.

As the imaging technology matures and becomes more affordable, however, InfraStructs could be used for a number of applications beyond keeping track of inventory or making point-of-sale transactions. For instance, mobile robots may use them ti recognize or differentiate between objects.


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