MIT showcases impressive dynamic shape display technology

By on November 14, 2013, 5:30 PM

The creative minds at MIT have come up with a dynamic shape display capable of physically changing its shape to render 3D content. It’s called inFORM and it consists of a large surface with a series of pins, actuators and linkages. As each actuator moves, it raises or lowers associated pins to create an interactive board.

An overhead projector shines down over the pins and gives them color and depth. A text description of inFORM admittedly doesn’t make a ton of sense but after watching the embedded video below, you’ll get a better understanding of exactly what it is and how it works.

The system can be paired with a Kinect motion sensor for even more imaginative action. For example, one can use inFORM to move the table’s pins simply by using your hands and it even works remotely via video conferencing. It’s no doubt neat technology but at present, I can’t say it is terribly practical. Not yet, anyway.

Researchers say they are exploring practical uses for inFORM. Areas of interest include the medical field to visualize 3D CT scans, device interaction and the manipulation of physical objects. Urban planners could also use the technology for mapping and terrain models.

As The Verge points out, it’s simply one step closer to a concept MIT realized over a decade ago called Radical Atoms, or, the future of interactivity. With Radical Atoms, MIT wants to change how we interact with computers – going from graphical user interfaces to a tactical user interface, or physically interacting with them.

User Comments: 10

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1 person liked this | Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

That... Is incredibly cool!

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

For a bit there, it almost looked like an alpha preview for a new OS interface. (1:45)

Or, at least the interface to a puzzle game!

Forg0t2 said:

Looks really nice. Now make it smaller and sell it as a gadget xD

GunsAblazin said:

Was thinking of getting it for my daughter 'till I saw the full setup, lol

Guest said:

Wow!!! blown away

that is so futuristic

its amazing to see those pins moving so fast and accurate

now just make those pins 10 times smaller and 10 times many of them

so everything will be more accurate and you could shape a human hand perfectly and all kind of objects

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Yeah. When it becomes much smaller, more refined & portable I'd like to use it on my face while pulling a bank heist.

Guest said:

Reminded me of the movie 'The Wolverine' :)

lipe123 said:

Uhm.. meh?

It's the same as the VR stuff they did a few months back with the kinect but instead of that its just pins. It's completely limited to 2D plane and I'm trying really hard to see a practical implementation but I can't.

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

Think about using this to teach your kids algebra/geometry/trig/calc, visualizing spreadsheets and charts... etc. This will be awesome once it's miniaturized.

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