A New Digital Interface that Lets You Touch Computer Simulations
MIT has been at the forefront of technological innovation for many years now. A department at the University, known as Tangible Media has been quite busy for some time now. Their aim is to change how people interact with their displays. One of their latest innovations is quite interesting.
What they have done?
The Tangible Media Group, at MIT, has been trying to initiate a change facing interface, which lets you tweak with data. As a result, you can mess with a simulation based on a digital input. The first push towards this direction was in 2013 when they released Inform. This device utilized a Kinect camera that would help the machine display the hands of the users at a certain location in real-time. The latest Tech News indicates they have upgraded the device.
Their first project, InForm was a great breakthrough. However, it had quite a low resolution. It allowed users to touch people who were miles away from them. Thus, the company was seen as trying to create another tool for social media interaction. This original device relied on the Kinect by Microsoft to interpret these motions. Since that initial release, the group has done some more serious research and come up with a better device.
Later on, the department kicked it up a notch with their Materiable Interface. This allows the user to view and touch physical simulation. The department aims to help people have better interactions with models and materials of things like a landslide. This new device can be thought of as some kind of clay. You can mold it into any way you like. It relies on complex apps and software to work properly.
How it Works?
The new interface is quite similar to InForm. It utilizes some blocks that are kept in motion by miniature motors to produce touch and provide haptic feedback. This new technology gives you the ability to imitate materials in the real world. For instance, if you were to flick a Materiable Interface, the entire surface might ripple all at once. Alternatively, it may bounce back and forth like a ball. The physics behind it is that each ‘pixel” perceives its own pressure and produces its own motion.
In order to make the entire thing more realistic, lights are projected onto the surface of the pixels. This helps to create different landscapes such as buildings or volcanic epicenters. Despite being just a proof of concept, this device looks extremely futuristic.
There are many potential uses for such a display. For instance, young children may have a lot of fun using it to render cute animals. The device can also be used to help researchers understand the different types of materials they work with. For instance, a Landscape designer may use it to run complex simulations such as earthquakes. Other uses for this technology might be by artists. They can use it as a sort of clay to create mock-ups of their work.
The Future of this Technology
This technology has a great future ahead of it. For instance, wall mounted devices of this type could be used for real life interactions. The ‘pixels’ could be heated up to mimic human body temperature for a life-like interaction. This concept would likely catch on very first. It achieves something that is not possible to do with holograms.
In addition, this concept can be applied on rescue missions. With the right kinds of scanners, this device could provide detailed structure of the inside of a building filled with smoke. It may do this by revealing all the physical structures inside such a building.
This technology can also be used in other sectors of the economy such as medicines. It may one day help doctors give a detailed scan of the inside of a person. As a result, it will play a huge role in minimally invasive surgery. It has been proved that, the smaller the incision into the body, the higher the chance of survival.
The device could also prove crucial for 3D printing. Essentially, it would allow people who use 3D printing to view all dimensions of their object before it was ever printed. 3D printing uses physical resources that can be expensive to purchase. As a result, you will be able to know if your model looks exactly like you wanted it to.
This device is just the beginning. MIT should now move on to create bigger models. They can even attempt to create an entire room filled with such screens on all sides resulting to an interesting interaction. However, their effort is quite commendable thus far.
This guest post was written by Vaileria Dennis, a Health and Beauty expert, having 10 years of experience in Beauty industry and providing healthy living tips. She is also passionate about fitness, women’s issues and more. In recent years, she has had an opportunity to learn about Food and Nutrition. She always excited to share her ideas related to beauty tips, healthy food recipes, and diet plans. Join Vaileria on Twitter, Facebook and G+