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inFORM Dynamic Shape Display: Display See, Display Do

by Lambert Varias
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The touchscreen and app combo of today’s mobile devices makes one gadget act as many. Different apps display different interfaces, and the touchscreen lets you interact with those interfaces in a natural manner. But what if, aside from changing what you can see, your gadget’s display could also change its shape? That’s what MIT’s Tangible Media Group wants to realize.

inform-dynamic-shape-display-by-MIT-tangible-media-groupzoom in

What you’re looking at is Tangible Media Group’s inFORM. It’s made of a Kinect, a projector, a computer, pins, linkages and actuators. inFORM can mimic the shape and motion of 3D objects in real time. For example, a monitor can show a two-dimensional replica of your arm, but with inFORM you can have a tangible, 3D replica of your arm. And since it’s 3D you can use that replica arm to carry or move objects just by moving your own arms.

inform-dynamic-shape-display-by-MIT-tangible-media-group-2zoom in

Equally important is inFORM’s ability to act as a collection of 3D pixels, a way of giving physical manifestation to digital information. For instance, it can make actual 3D charts, give you a tangible version of a 3D model in an instant and present even more intuitive user interfaces.

inFORM is a step towards the Tangible Media Group’s dream that it calls Radical Atoms, a “hypothetical generation of materials that can change form and appearance dynamically, becoming as reconfigurable as pixels on a screen… so that dynamic changes of physical form can be reflected in digital states in real time, and vice versa.”

Imagine watching horror films on a Radical Atom TV.  Imagine “holding” your loved ones as you chat with them on Radical Atom walls and floors. Imagine controlling a giant mech made of Radical Atoms. Imagine visualizing mind-boggling equations and predictions on a Radical Atom spreadsheet. Imagine having a physical keyboard or game buttons on your Radical Atom mobile device. Aww yiss.

[MIT Tangible Media Group via Colossal]




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