Introduction to whatt.io and the vision to connect products to its own information.
Whatt.io is a combination of a cloud-based product information platform, programming tools and manufacturing methods to integrate RFID tags (NFC) inside products created mainly with 3D printers.
The vision that whatt.io should accomplish is to enable better circular design and recycling and re-use of products and therefore lower the impact on our environment by re-using and repairing products more often instead of just buying new and trashing the old.
Whatt.io is a passive internet of things solution. It allows for a connection and relationship between manufacturing, material and other vital product information that enables the end-user a better understanding how to assemble, repair, buy spare parts and how to recycle or re-sell the product with all maintenance data intact.
Whatt.io enables a relationship to the products information through our modern smartphones with a simple tap on the item, it opens up the product information in a regular web browser.
Whatt.io will enable buyers of products to know where the material comes from, when and where the product is manufactured, how to assemble and disassemble it and how to repair and recycle the product. Whatt.io is a cradle to grave life cycle product information platform.
Whatt.io is a digital spare part enabler, that allows a user of a product to buy, download and 3D print parts to the product they have bought….
Whatt.io is created to make the world a better place, a place where products can be more sustainable, be used longer and be repaired. It also becomes the enabler for true circularity where products can be disassembled and recycled and reused into other parts due to the knowledge of what materials have been used in the actual product.
Whatt.io favors biomaterials and recycled materials. Transparency about the source of the incoming materials and the knowledge if the materials are recycled, bio-derived and the origin are extremely important facts for making a better purchasing decision based on the true environmental footprint of the product and how much transportation and mining has been involved for the materials.
3D printing and additive manufacturing is the future of manufacturing with potentially democratized and locally based micro factories that will nurture a manufacture on demand on site (or close) instead of mass production and mass transportation (including physically warehouse storage). To enable this more sustainable future we need digital platforms that minimize the production of parts, paper, instructions, shipping etc. The most environmental choice is always to consume less, repair and re-use but for that we need knowledge and information. Whatt.io is a cradle to grave life cycle product information platform.
Welcome to Whatt.io, the internet of things platform for sustainability and circularity.
NFC stands for Near Field Communication and is a type of RfID. NFC is the standard used for credit cards and mobile phones. The ISO standard 144443A is what we use with Whatt.io and all our NFC tags are developed to be compatible with this standard.
The NFC tag is a small chip and a larger antenna. The chip is fabricated out of silicon and the antenna can be made of copper or aluminum. The NFC tags exist in many different variations and sizes. Consult with 3D printing experts at Lostboyslab or whatt.io to know which chip fits your type of application best.
With whatt.io programmed NFC tags added to the products any NFC enabled mobile phone can retrieve the information about the particular physical product without any installation of an App. It uses the internal standard “tap” to open a URL that is unique to each product manufactured with whatt.io. Nothing needs to be installed on the Android or iOS phone to read the data by tapping on the part. NFC needs to be enabled in the settings for the Andriod phone, Apple iOS is always on.
The reading distance for NFC (Near Field Communication) is normally 10-40 mm. This distance is measured from your device reading spot to the center of the actual chip. As we build in the chips inside the 3D printed parts this reading distance can vary depending how deep inside the part the chip is integrated. It is also important to know that different manufacturers of phones have the reader positioned in different locations in the phones. If you are already using your phone for Apple Pay, Google Pay or similar you tap in the same way as you do inte store when paying.
The chip is programmed with a regular smartphone with the whatt.io App. In the alpha developer phase March-April 2022 only an Android OS phone can be used to program the NFC chip. Later during the year the whatt.io App will be available for Apple iOS. To enable programming of the chip and create the connection with the actual product data you need to have the latest whatt.io app installed, be a member of a TEAM in the Whatt.io cloud administration and have the Product properly set up in the system. When you are logged into the Whatt.io App on your Android phone you choose your team, the brand and what product to be programmed. Select WRITE and hold the phone close to the chip and what for the App to go GREEN and acknowledge that the programming is correct and the connection is made.
The Whatt.io NFC tags are all available for purchase online at https://www.lostboyslab.shop/All the available NFC tags in the online store are manufactured to meet our quality requirements and they are tested to work with whatt.io, our programming tools and are developed to be used for integration in the additive manufacturing process.All purchases of NFC tags in the official Lostboyslab.shop includes the necessary tokens for the whatt.io admin that enables teams and clients to program and connect the NFC tags to the cloud data.
For very complicated installations or complex modeling and manufacturing situations please consult with a 3D printing technician or solution experts at Lostboyslab or whatt.io. Generally the standard NFC tags 213 stickers delivered on a roll with 3M glue on the backside with visible antenna are suited for FDM/FFF 3D printers and to be integrated inside the part.
Thermoplastics will not interrupt the signal and radio waves created for a near field communication to be enabled. These standard NFC tags work in most conditions and are easy to add when the printer is paused and the NFC tag can be added in the empty slot, the glue for these NFC tags work fine up to 70-80 degrees on the build plate. Typically all Markforged Onyx and most PLA and PETG 3D printers are suitable for these NFC tags.If you want the tag to be visible you can choose to add the tag after the part is produced, there are stickers available with the whatt.io logo. Lostboyslab can manufacture NFC tags stickers with any size, shape and logo exclusively for a brand or client. The minimum order is 3000 tags.
Lostboyslab and whatt.io will continuously offer more variations and types of NFC compatible tags. PVC based coin tags are under development to enable the engineer to add the tag vertically into the parts, instead of horizontally.
These tags are also water tight and less delicate to handle.PCB/FPC tags are built on a circuit board and exist in various sizes and shapes. These can be made smaller than the sticker NFC tags and they can resist up to 150 degrees in 30 minutes and also works better if the part will be mounted on a metal surface that might interrupt the signal from the radio wave.More details about NFC tags in section 3D CAD modeling and Slicers and 3D printing with tags.
Yes, there is. An easy formula is that the smaller the tag is (the size of the antenna) the closer you need to be with the phone when reading or programming. We always recommend using as big an NFC tag as possible for the actual scenario or solution.
A rule of thumb is that the reading distance is very similar to the size of the antenna (diameter). When integrating and embedding the NFC tag inside a construction you need to think about how to inform the end user where the tag actually is. You also need to consider the reading distance in context with the placement of the tag and the user's interaction with reaching it with the phone…
Creating the slot is very easy with a mechanical CAD system of any kind. We will illustrate and use Autodesk Fusion 360 to show how it is done. To be able to integrate a NFC tag inside the actual construction you need to create a “slot” that is approx 1 mm in height and 1mm larger in X and Y than the actual chip you intend to use.
In this example we use the standard NFC tag 213 in PET and with 3M glue on the back. It is like a thick sticker with a visible antenna… These exist in 18 and 25 mm diameter and we will use the 25 mm in this example. Create a circle with 26-27 mm diameter and then use the extrude command to cut out a 1 mm height slot in the part where to place the NFC.
Place the NFC as close to the surface as it is possible but not too close as the 3D printer needs to bridge this and close the gap with the filament, it can take a couple of layers before this looks good and a nice top surface can be established. Our recommendation is minimum 1.5-2.0 mm to 5-6.0 mm max.
Most slicers like eiger.io, Cura and Prusa Slicer allow you to add a pause in the slicer where the FDM/FFF printer will stop the printing temporarily and move the print head to a corner to allow for the operator to insert the chip and then resume printing. All models from Markforged, Prusa and Ultimaker have this option. Consult with your 3D printer manufacturer and slicing software how to set a PAUSE in the printing to enable this.
Video showing how the pause is added
Video showing how the pause is added
Video showing how the pause is added
FDM and FFF 3D printing is very versatile due to the opportunity to pause the print and add reinforcements, super magnets or NFC tags with a pause in the printing process. If you are manufacturing with other additive methods with powder or resin based solutions you need to add the chip in a slot using the PVC based coin tags or create a embossed place on the inside of a part where the 3M sticker based NFC tag can be added after printing (and cleaning/UV etc) is done.
For large format printers with granules we recommend to create a badge with a FFF/FDM printer and glue or with screws add it to the large format print after it is finished.
Whatt.io is built on the fact that every part will be unique. This has huge implications later when whatt.io is used for traceability, authentication, owner data and statistics and other features. The NFC tag has a built in unique code, like a GUID, a unique identifier.
Whatt.io used this identifier to create the short and unique URL that points to the actual parts dataset. This is the way we believe a internet of things based lifecycle product data platform should be used, that is why it can not be used only with a QR code.
The QR code is a good complement and backup to the NFC tag, but the NFC has a memory that we can write and read to, that gives us more capabilities as well as the unique serial number included in the chip.
Every part that is programmed with an NFC tag will get a unique short URL that is the live connection to the actual products dataset. When a part is fabricated and added to whatt.io it also creates a QR code in the system. This QR code can act as a backup if the chip fails or if the end user does not have the capability to read NFC, but have a phone with a camera that can read QR codes.
The QR code can also be used on paper based delivery notes, freight documents and a QR code can be added to the parts packaging or on a temporary location during setup and montage for instance.
In theory yes, but it defeats the purpose of whatt.io and the ability to trace every part uniquely. But the possibility would be to create a product and part in whatt.io, program one original NFC tag and then use the same QR code generated for every product that is delivered.
It would be a nice service for a 3D printing farm to deliver printing data and material data sheets in a clever form without the need to add a NFC tag to every part produced. For this purpose it is possible but again it will defeat the real purpose of whatt.io that can keep track of each part uniquely and the fact that each part is intelligent.
A full redirect is a feature in the cloud admin of whatt.io that allows you to fully redirect the whatt.io url to any other url of your choice. When you use this function you can send forward to any url of your choice for all fabricated units in the same product type.
This would be used in cases when the end user should not be able to see all types of data produced by the whatt.io database. It can also be used when a product is released and all data is now added to the system, then the brand owner can redirect to a landing page with less information or campaigns etc.
For many reasons. With Whatt.io the url is very short and can always fit on NFC tags even with as little as 128 bytes. This secures the functionality and future proof the NFC url in the tag. The url for whatt.io is defined on the basis of the serial number in the chip and additional client and product settings in the cloud. It is future proof and the full redirect allows the brand owner to modify the url at any point of time.
This often happens when using online HTML tools to build web pages or using platforms like shopify might change a dynamic url without the knowledge of the owner, that might render it into a broken url. With whatt.io the url can always be changed.
This is a limitation of the NFC tag 213 and it means the short url needs to be very short. Whatt.io offers an extremely short url and also one that is unique to every product programmed, still within approximately 38 bytes or less.
The limitation means that using many NFC tools and directly burning in the long complex url’s into a NFC tag can fail due to memory limitations.
Yes. This is one of the main reasons why whatt.io creates a future proof connection to every single product shipped from the factory. All old products are stored in the cloud admin and within a product family the url can be changed on all products simultaneously to direct to a new updated url.
Yes. The Product view editor allows the brand owner or team admin to jump between a full redirect url or to show the UNIT Product view. The unit product view is described in detail in the whatt.io cloud admin section.
Yes, the whatt.io unit view has many url options that allow for adding an external url that has more information on a separate landing page. There are multiple options when an external landing page can be used to describe the manufacturing, material, support and recycling processes.
No you don’t. The basic logic is that every product assembly has an NFC tag and parts and components that are part of this assembly are covered by one single NFC tag and the product structure. A Product has predefined parts and components that are added in the cloud admin. In the example of the Gearbox distributor-1 it is a complete product with casing, gears, screws, nuts etc as parts.
The parts will be visible if the brand owner wishes in the product unit view to enable digital spare part management. More on that in the spare part section. The part that carries the NFC tag is considered to be the “NFC host” part.
Yes, but you need to first define the product (assembly) and then the part that belongs to that product. That will be the only part in the structure and will need to host the NFC tag.
Yes, you need to validate that the database already consists of the materials you have in your parts and components. If the material does not exist you need to add it before creating new parts.
You can always go back and edit a part and change the material. Material data and datasheets are essential to whatt.io, the main reason of whatt.io is to hold valuable knowledge and information about the materials to enable reuse and recycling of the parts so circularity can be created. The better material data you enter the more transparent and honest your product can be viewed from the buyer and user.
A product is the definition in the database that consists of all the information regarding parts, components, materials, assembly and recycling info. A UNIT is the actual fabricated unique part that is manufactured and chipped. The UNIT gets born (cradle) when the whatt.io app burns in the whatt.io url to the chip and it gets a serial number and url added to the cloud admin database.
The product can be said to be the original digital product and the unit is the cloned real physical part/product that is brought to life. The UNIT is fabricated Products and that is linked to the product data through the unique serial number and url.
The exact structure and detailed levels can not be generalized, but has to be examined by engineers and product managers to decide the amount of NFC tags needed to fulfill material data sets and assembly instructions etc etc. The concept of whatt.io is based on the fact that each main product assembly should have a NFC tag. That means that a large machine that is built up with 5 different assemblies from 5 different subcontractors most likely will carry 5 NFC tags held up by one NFC host part in each category. As an example a machine that has the electrical cabinet from a sub contractor would have its own NFC tag that has all maintenance information regarding the electrical functions. The main structure of aluminum would have another and an engine assembly where multiple spare parts can be self printed on a 3D printer might be a third. The logic is that important service points, assemblies, products that can be reused, repaired and hold spare parts and material passports should have its own NFC chip.
An account profile is an individual account. This is your personal login and information. to use whatt.io you need to be invited by a team administrator or have your own account. A Team consists of account profiles (individuals) that work together in a Team.
They share material, products and parts. A team would host a manufacturing facility producing parts.A client is the brand owner and has the rights to the products and parts. A product always belong to a client (brand owner)
Yes, you can create new teams if you are an administrator and you can be invited to other teams as an administrator or an editor.
Yes, you can add as many clients as you like to your own team and cónnect these clients to the products you are creating.
This is a limitation in the alfa version that will be updated and changed in March-April 2022 release. Then material is owned by its creator in a team, but can be shared as a global public material with any other team. That means all team members assist the community in building up the material database to create a faster and smoother process for 3D print farms and manufacturers.
The product page editor assists you in deciding what information should be displayed in the UNIT PAGE view. In the editor you can switch on and off whole sections like spare parts, introduction, assembly, material and support sections.
This helps you in creating a useful and functional unit page for the end user when they tap on a product with their phone.As an example you can switch off the assembly section if your product has no assembly info to show for the user. The Product page editor also allows you to set up how to handle spare parts.
You can easily create all parts as downloadable 3D printed parts. First step is to upload a 3MF file to each part when you create the part (or edit) and also check the box for self print. That will allow for that part to be downloadable for spare parts.
Enable the spare part section in the product page view, then it will be part on the unit page view and allow the user to download 3D printable parts,
That is an option to set in the product page editor, enter the URL to the e-commerce site where your parts are offered and enable the section. Be sure to uncheck the self print box on each part as that will allow for self print and download each part as a 3D printable item.
Only parts that you both upload 3MF and also set individually to self print will be allowed to be downloaded.
Whatt.io does not have this function installed yet. This is a future functionality to allow for a token based download or a one off purchase of a digital license to download for self print.
Controlled cloud printing is under development for Markforged eiger and will be launched as a beta during 2022.