11.14.13

MIT researchers want you to touch the digital realm

The trouble with the digital and physical worlds is that they’re separated by screens. The Tangible Media Group at MIT has partially solved that problem with inFORM, a “Dynamic Shape Display,” and it looks amazing. Basically, it’s a bed of rectangular pieces that rise and fall, capable of displaying digital objects in three-dimensions. But it can also portray physical objects with aid of a Kinect camera. No description can do it justice. You’ve got to see this thing!

It's possible dynamic shape displays like these could redirect the trajectory of technology. The way things stand, the physical world has been devalued. “Our gadgets have been consumed by the screen and become indistinguishable black rectangles with barely any physical controls. That's why BlackBerry is dying,” the inventors told Fast Co. But they predict that future hardware will become more tangible. "As humans, we have evolved to interact physically with our environments, but in the 21st century, we're missing out on all of this tactile sensation that is meant to guide us, limit us, and make us feel more connected. In the transition to purely digital interfaces, something profound has been lost, “they say.

I wonder how such a device could be used for games.