By Leo Lutero | PFSK
inForm is essentially a field of embedded pins that rise and fall independently to form shapes using information relayed by a computer. The creators of inForm describe it as a Dynamic Shape Display that can display real-time 3D information as well as receive input from users.
Developed byMIT Media Lab‘s Tangible Media Group, it is able to display 3D information in real-time and in a more accurate and interactive manner compared to the flat rendering often created by computer user interface.
In their experiment, the group used a Kinect sensor to capture 3D data, processed it with a computer and relayed it on to a display enabling the system to remotely manipulate a physical ball. Aside from being able to produce a controlled physical environment for the ball, the pins are able to detect touch, pressing down and pulling.
The display could be used as an alternative to 3D printing low-resolution prototypes. The display could also render 3D data such as construction plans, CT Scans and data graphs that a user will be able to interact with by physically molding the pins.
The project currently collaborates withChanging Places, another project from the MIT Media Lab. Changing Places creates city plans using the inForm display for an adaptive 3D model, displaying the technology’s potential to aid city planners in mapping out the future.
The detailed paper on the project entitled “inForm: Dynamic Physical Affordances and Constraints through Shape and Object Actuation” was co-authored by Sean Follmer, Daniel Leitheingir, Alex Olwal, Akimitsu Hogge and Hiroshi Ishii.
One of the project’s creators, Hiroshi Ishii, tells a Japanese magazinethat the abacus inspired and reminded him of the directness of a tangible interface, the opposite of which is found in computer and phone displays today.
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