Microsoft did announce in the past that Windows 8.1 will come along with native support for 3D printers, and here we are with word that Microsoft Research is sharpening their knives in their hunt for more creative uses of 3D printed objects, apart from just churning out prototypes in a jiffy. The Microsoft Research website shared additional details on this new project that they call InfraStructs, where it is currently being presented as a paper throughout the SIGGRAPH 2013 conference. The idea behind Microsoft InfraStructs is pretty simple – 3D printed objects can come with embedded coded tags that are placed within these objects.
The code varies, it can be a serial number or even simple programs, hence doing away with the need to place an electronic chip within physically for a similar purpose. This code can be read and decoded by a terahertz scanning device, as it has the capability to sense code or imagery within a 3D printed object. Future practical applications of this concept could include customized game accessories that come with embedded tags, being used for location sensing, tabletop computing with tangible objects sensed through other objects beneath them, and who knows, even mobile robots with THz range finders which are capable of recognizing objects in the surrounding area. [Press Release]