Using 3D printed plastic components to replace analog electronic circuits

It is understood that the Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCI) of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and Disney Research have launched an “Acoustrument” cooperation program.3D printingPlastic components replace complex analog electronic circuits, creating a variety of innovative acoustically driven add-ons for smartphones, such as expansion ports and other interesting expansion devices.

The peripheral market for so-called “app” toys or toys powered by smartphone apps is currently experiencing a boom. In fact, this is one of the fastest growing technology sectors, and according to, this market is expected to generate billions of dollars in sales in 2015 and beyond, closely linking two billion dollar sales. Scale toy and mobile app industry. Today, even the most humble smartphone expansion kit is equipped with electronic circuits and control knobs that activate the circuits and transmit control signals to the phone it docks with. But according to Gierad Laput, a Ph.D. candidate at Carnegie Mellon University, these accessories can actually be made in a simpler and cheaper way, without having to carry electronic circuits to achieve the same functional effect. Gierad Laput is currently conducting research on a new type of interface at the University’s Institute for Human-Computer Interaction.

In this article, the researchers describe how to design some structural elements that can be placed along the “speaker-microphone” path, thereby changing the acoustic output characteristics. This process shapes a variety of different physical mechanisms, including small tube diameters, deformable resonant cavities, knobs that provide a variety of audio paths, and, more practically, converts all of these mechanisms into a variety of different functions, such as knobs, Sliders, proximity and pressure sensors, rotary encoders or even tilt sensors.
This opens up many new applications for inexpensive plastic, no-app toys, allowing them to offer richer, tangible and interactive functions. According to experiments, this acoustic instrument can achieve 99% accuracy, not only requires a little practice or training, but it is also very noise-resistant. To prove the concept, the researchers also created an iPhone case with a soft airway that could identify where or when the device itself was placed on a table, in the hand, or used for taking pictures.
The researchers also constructed an interesting alarm clock that can be activated by a switch, as well as a snooze function when the larger button is pressed. In addition, the researchers also developed a toy car that can be attached to a mobile phone for another fun application, driving a racing game immediately when the wheels start to turn.

Published on 09/18/2022