PhD Student


Blowhole: Blowing-Activated Tags for Interactive 3D-Printed Models


Interactive 3D models have the potential to enhance accessibility and education, but can be complex and time-consuming to produce. We present Blowhole, a technique for embedding blowing-activated tags into 3D-printed models to add interactivity. Requiring no special printing techniques, components, or assembly and working on consumer-level 3D printers, Blowhole adds acoustically resonant cavities to the interior of a model with unobtrusive openings at the surface of the object. A gentle blow into a hole produces a unique sound that identifies the hole, allowing a computer to provide associated content. We describe the theory behind Blowhole, characterize the performance of different cavity parameters, and describe our implementation, including easy-to-use software to automatically embed blowholes into preexisting models. We illustrate Blowhole's potential with multiple working examples. 


Blowhole Cavities

Blowhole operates on the principle of acoustic resonance, where particular frequencies are amplified or attenuated due to the physical properties of a cavity. Blowhole uses spherical cavities inside a 3D-printed model with straight pipes opening onto the surface; the resonant frequency of a cavity depends on the area and length of the opening and the volume of the cavity, and is classically modeled using the Helmholtz resonance equation.


Interactive Animal Cell

We adapted an existing model of an animal cell3 to add Blowhole tags to the different parts of the cell. When the tags are activated, the listening computer application launches the Wikipedia page for the associated cell component.

Full Citation

Carlos E. Tejada, Osamu Fujimoto, Zhiyuan Li, Daniel Ashbrook. Blowhole: Blowing-Activated Tags for Interactive 3D-Printed Models. In Proceedings of the 44th Conference on Graphics, Visualiza- tion & Human-Computer Interaction (GI), Toronto, Canadá, 2018, 6 pages.