3D Printing Joins the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is an idea that’s been kicking around for about a decade now. If you aren’t familiar with the term, the IoT assumes that, eventually, nearly every item you own, from clothing to the refrigerator, will have some sort of wireless sensor in it that tracks data about use.

The IoT could tell you when you really need to wash those jeans you’ve been wearing for days, or report (some might say tattle) on how often you open the fridge for a midnight snack. Every action could produce data that could be used in any number of potentially useful ways. Now, 3D printed objects have joined the fun.

Flomio-built NFC Tagged Object

This cute little 3D printed dinosaur has an embedded NFC chip. Courtesy of Flomio.

Flomio has begun offering 3D printed objects with an embedded near field communication (NFC) chip. A NFC chip relays a really short-ranged wireless signal (no further than a couple inches) in a manner similar to RFID chips. The technology often exists in the form of a NFC sticker, which can be incorporated into “smart” advertising that you might scan with your phone.

In this case, the embedded chip can be part of an interactive marketing campaign, or enhance a game with interactive elements. Imagine handing out keepsakes that communicate with your customer’s mobile devices, or playing a game like Battleship in which the NFC chips can tell you whether or not you’ve sunk your opponent’s battleship.

Below you’ll find a video that highlights the potential uses of NFC technology.

Sources: NFC World, Flomio     

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