MIT breakthrough – reach out online and touch stuff (video)

13 Nov 2013

MIT’s Tangible Media Group has created a new shape display technology called InFORM that allows users to reach out online and interact with physical objects in a different location.

The technology allows users to partake in a videoconference and through the use of a Kinect Motion sensor allow them to manipulate and touch objects sitting on a grid of polystyrene pins at the other side of the conversation.

“InFORM is a Dynamic Shape Display that can render 3D content physically, so users can interact with digital information in a tangible way,” the MIT group said on its homepage.

“InFORM can also interact with the physical world around it, for example, moving objects on the table’s surface. Remote participants in a videoconference can be displayed physically, allowing for a strong sense of presence and the ability to interact physically at a distance. inFORM is a step toward our vision of Radical Atoms.”

The group is now exploring a number of application domains for the technology, including GIS design for urban planners and medical imaging.

Another potential application includes allowing 3D modellers to prototype their designs physically without 3D resolution.


John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years