These New InfraredTags Can Embed “Invisible” Info Within 3D-Printed Objects

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Scientists from MIT and Facebook are contributing to the domain of an object tagging system that is invisible to the naked eye. As barcode stickers may provide valuable information on products, they may seem unattractive and they peel off over time. So, its alternative, a 3D-printed object has been brought into the item by the scientists at MIT. These are actually invisible to the naked eye.

These tags are referred to as “Infrared Tags”. Ph.D. student. Mustafa Doga Dogan has led the team at MIT for the same purpose. He got the idea through a new smartphone that includes an infrared-imaging camera.

MIT team has developed the tags, that seem like regular barcodes, using an infrared-transmitting filament interspersed with air gaps. Such filament appears opaque in visible light but looks translucent in Infrared Light. It was printed inside the walls of the 3D object. One approach involves carving a pattern of tiny air gaps out of a layer of plastic, covered with a smooth protective layer. These gaps represent ones and zeroes, so they can be read like binary code by an IR Camera.

There is another approach as well. It involves the utilization of a second plastic. Such plastic is opaque to IR light to create more traditional QR codes. These are covered with an outer layer of the main plastic.

Invisible tags that are actually part of the object are appealing because they are durable. Moreover, they can not be wiped off. Dogan has created the items such as mugs with embedded barcodes, a Wi-Fi router with embedded tags. Infrared Tags can also be featured in items like smartphone-controlled devices or augmented reality glasses.

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