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Looking Toward Cloaking & Acoustic Tagging: Researchers Implant 3D Printed Objects with Sound Data

by • July 18, 2016 • No Comments

engineering_logo3For many, 3D printing has an aura of magic of it, enabling for objects to appear preceding your eyes as you summon them at can. And while the innovation is utilized for numerous and expanding high-level projects, of the bioprinting of human organs to traveling in space, it offers huge appeal for a expanding volume of users of all ages around the world. Now, as researchers of Columbia Engineering, funded in part by the National Science Foundation and Adobe, work with MIT and Disney Research, the magic grows additional. Especially with the thought that their latest work may one day in fact actually lead to the cloaking of objects and devices.

Centered around voxels, a number of that add up as values comprising a volume in 3D space, the research team has come up with a new concept and process that starts by controlling sound waves initially, but has the future to go much additional with amazing versatility, maybe in retail, car, copyrighting, or actually as far as the ocean. With acoustic filtering and tagging, the team led by Columbia Computer Science Professor Changxi Zheng is combining volume and 3D printing in a way many of us pretty never may have considered.

16c-2Here, 3D printed objects—of virtually any shape—can work as the vehicle for acoustic filters through specially made voxels that manufacture up one whole process, enabling sound to flow in and out. The voxels can be utilized to manufacture any sized structure (ponder Legos) to fit inside any 3D print, and due to the properties of their ‘internal chambers,’ can modify the way sound data is filtered. Outlining their project in ‘Acoustic Voxels: Computational Optimization of Modular Acoustic Filters,’ the team can now present the concept at at SIGGRAPH 2016 in Anaheim, CA on July 27.

“In the past, folks have explored computational create of specific products, like a sure type of muffler or a particular shape of trumpet,” says Zheng. “The general approach to manipulating sound waves has been to computationally create chamber shapes. Our algorithm empowers new creates of noise mufflers, hearing aids, wind instruments, and additional – we can now manufacture them in any shape we want, actually a 3D-printed toy hippopotamus that sounds like a trumpet.”

“We in addition have proposed a quite interesting new way to use acoustic filters: we can use our acoustic voxels as acoustic tags, one-of-a-kind to every piece we 3D print, and encode information in them. This is much like to QR codes or RFIDs, and opens the door to encoding product and copyright information in 3D printing.”

This is not the initially time the team has dabbled in manipulating acoustics, as well as working to improve them—and it’s in addition not their initially experience incorporating 3D printing and experiencing all of the resulting benefits therein. In 2015, we followed along as the researchers applied their computational technique in creating and 3D printing what they cleverly dubbed the zoolophone, a variation on the xylophone—and in that case, made with wooden keys in animal shapes. This was obviously a preliminary project in comparison to their latest, revealing that they were becoming increasingly interested in sounds in relation to geometries, and manipulating them together.


3D printed object with voxelized acoustic structure inside.

The geometries grow significantly additional hard and additional varied as the researchers delve additional into both acoustics and 3D innovation.

“Using an efficient method of simulating the transmission matrix of an assembly made of these underlying primitives, our method is able-bodied to optimize both the arrangement and the parameters of the acoustic shape primitives in order to satisfy target acoustic properties of the filter,” say the researchers in their paper.

The team is making progress that may prove to be far-reverying, with items like car mufflers and musical wind instruments as examples of what may be substantially improved on.

“With 3D printing devices in modern times, geometric hardity is no longer a barrier. Even hard shapes can be fabricated with quite little effort,” Zheng notes. “So the question is: can we use hard shapes to improve acoustic properties of products?”


Tapping the 3D printed pig to receive the acoustic signature.

And while it’s pretty off the topic of making and copyrighting, it’s not too surprising to hear that their ambitions may travel as far as the sea too, incorporating control of ultrasonic waves.

“We are investigating a few of the interesting possibilities of ultrasonic manipulation, such as cloaking, where sound propagation can be distorted to hide objects of sound waves. This may lead to new creates of sonar processs or underwater communication processs. It is an amazing area to explore.”

instrument-assemblyLooking into the details, it pretty appears as if they are doing additional than improving. Perhaps exploring, innovating, and extending may all fit here too as they consider what acoustic tagging, as well as actually cloaking, may do. With tagging, the team can all but implant acoustics in the 3D printed piece. Similar to a futuristic bar code, this allows for for data to be kept inside the object and may be quite useful for copyrighting as the structure of the voxels is completely one-of-a-kind to that object, and in addition holds its own signature. This is of course a fewthing that may transfer well to QR codes for example, enabling for manufacturers to create a fingerprint right into items being manufactured, with the rewards being a savings on the bottom line in production, as well as in time and effort.

As the researchers point out, while one object may appear the same on the outside, it may have a completely various acoustic create inside, making a varied sound. They tested the thought with an iPhone app made specifically for this project, recording the sounds and and so identifying every object correctly. This may in addition have excellent implications for stamping original 3D printed artwork as well as figurines, appearing in the direction of the embedding of acoustic data—that may work surprising magic all around as equiteone of the artist to the retailer feels the benefits. How else do you ponder this concept can be useful? Discuss additional over in the Acoustic Filters & 3D Printing forum at 3DPB.com.

[Source: Columbia Engineering / Images: Columbia Computer Science]