Researchers at the University of Washington are 3D printing no-electricity electronics parts to create devices that can transmit information over Wifi – no electricity or batteries required! If this sounds complicated, it is a little. They had to figure out how to transmit data in binary (zeros and ones) from a physical input (such as a push of a button, moving of a wind turbine etc).

3D printing no-electricity electronics

3D Printed Wi-Fi components Photo credit:


The team 3D printed gears, switches, springs and the base parts in plastic, and then 3D printed the antenna and switch with conductive copper filament.

“Our goal was to create something that just comes out of your 3D printer at home and can send useful information to other devices,” said co-lead author and UW electrical engineering doctoral student Vikram Iyer. “But the big challenge is how do you communicate wirelessly with WiFi using only plastic? That’s something that no one has been able to do before.”


The press release with more information can be found here.

Can we use this in Kenya & Tanzania?

Perhaps 3D printing no-electricity electronics can be useful in rural Kenya and Tanzania where electricity access is low. Could they be used to transmit information about agriculture, weather, market prices, etc? What other applications are there? Send us your ideas!

Want to try 3D printing no-electricity electronics yourself?

The team has made their CAD files available so we can print these for you at Kuunda 3D. Contact us for details.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *