MIT technology makes it possible to ‘be’ two places at once
(Credit: MIT Tangible Media Group)
It’s still impossible to be in two places at once, unless you’ve got one of these gadgets lying around.
The InForm is a dynamic shape display from MIT’s Tangible Media Group. It turns 3D data into crude, physical representations in real time.
Using a Kinect motion sensor, it can scan bodily movements and recreate them on a table of physical “pixels,” allowing you to manipulate objects on the other end. The pixels on the InForm table are actually a grid of 900 motorized, polystyrene pins that can extend about 4 inches from the surface, according to an MIT paper (PDF) for the Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction.
The grid is powered by an elaborate system of computer-controlled linkages and actuators under the table. Meanwhile, an overhead Kinect and projector deliver data on user motion into the system while casting visual feedback onto the table. The mind-bending video at the end of this article shows how a user can cradle a ball or flashlight and interact with 3D models.