Prototypes form in an instant, far more quickly than in 3D printing. Medical CT scans, 3D maps and architectural designs morph as new data is input. This is the “radical atoms” vision of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Tangible Media Group, which believes that, in many cases, physical is better than digital.
In November 2013, graduate students Daniel Leithinger and Sean Follmer presented the first step of this vision. The inFORM Dynamic Shape Display is a shape-shifting surface that captures movement and forms with an overhead sensor, then renders those forms in motion remotely and simultaneously through a motorised, Pinscreen-like device. As the 12 mm-wide pins – there are 900 of them – move up and down in unison, they can create an interactive 3D model of objects anywhere around the world.
How InFORM works
An Xbox Kinect sensor captures movement, which is then recreated via a custom circuit board with a microcontroller that operates 900 motors.
Long cable linkages connect the motors to pins, reducing friction.
Each linkage connects to one of 900 pins, each 12 mm wide.
See how users can interact with digital information in a tangible way using InFORM in this video…
– Darren Orf