The Tangible Media Group of MIT recently showed off an amazing display that transforms digital objects into physical ones that you can touch. Perhaps the best way to understand just how incredible this technology is, take a look at this video:
The tech is called the inFORM Dynamic Shape Display, and the team behind it is constantly exploring how the digital world can be given a physical form. The inFORM uses 3D sensors — in this case it’s Microsoft’s Kinect — to capture physical appearances then reproduce it onto this tabletop of blocks, which can be anywhere in the world. To give the blocks different colors and expand its uses, a projector on the ceiling beams down different hues of light.
But as impressive as it is, the technology can’t let you do everything you’d want to in a physical setting. It’s not a complete 3D experience because the blocks or pins can only be pushed up or down — they can’t be moved sideways or in any other manner.
Still, the inFORM is undoubtedly the closest the team at MIT has come to achieving their vision. It goes without saying that as technology continues to improve, the lines between the digital world and the physical will only continue to blur.