MIT bets shapeshifting displays will be the user interfaces of the future

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Recently, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) stunned the world with its novel display interface that allows users to physically interact with objects and people hundreds of miles away.

The inFORM is a “Dynamic Shape Display that can render 3D content physically, so users can interact with digital information in a tangible way.” Put simply, a user’s gestures are analyzed and converted into digital data using a motion sensing device, in this case Microsoft’s Kinect. The information gathered is then processed through a computer that uses the data to instruct hundreds of individual, motorized pins to recreate the user’s movement.

As you can see, the potential for application is vast. Not only can users manipulate objects and interact with other users remotely, the inFORM can also be used as a tool for learning. For example, imagine a class where students watch mathematical formulas come alive right before their eyes, offering them tangible, three dimensional examples of abstract concepts. For the first time, high school math and science classes may very well become the classes students prefer most. 

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About Author

Kristian strives to enlighten and entertain readers. In addition to his teaching and editorial responsibilities, he is working on a science-fiction novel that promises not to include exoskeleton suits and anemic aliens floating in mysterious vats of green-tinted goop.

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