In a time of flat touch screens, Daniel Leithinger and Sean Follmer, with Professor Hiroshi Ishii of MIT’s Tangible Media Group, have re-focused on tactile digital interfaces by pairing a motion sensing input device with a table made of 900 physical “pixels” to create inFORM, a shape-shifting 3-D display. From FastCoDesign:
It’s basically a fancy Pinscreen, one of those executive desk toys that allows you to create a rough 3-D model of an object by pressing it into a bed of flattened pins. With inFORM, each of those “pins” is connected to a motor controlled by a nearby laptop, which can not only move the pins to render digital content physically, but can also register real-life objects interacting with its surface thanks to the sensors of a hacked Microsoft Kinect.
With this budding technology, remote users could interact with physical objects from a distance, or digital content and data (maps, geographical models, architectural plans, etc) could be displayed and interacted with dynamically. Just imagine how this could work with a “higher resolution” — even just 2x or 10x the amount of “pixels” responding. How will you use it?
Storytelling, shadows, and 3D viewing come together in this Science Friday report, Dark Art. Biology grad student Tom McDonagh tells of the first balloon trip across the English Channel in 1785, and how he and other puppeteers are telling the story with laser cut puppets and 3D shadows. Yes, 3D shadows.
There are more puppets, a few shadows, and more Science Friday vids in the archives.
File under laser scanners, 3D printers and dinosaur bones… not so surprisingly a great combination, as introduced by Dr. Kenneth Lacovara of Drexel University:
"For years and years, vertebrate paleontologists have really been confined to working with the shapes, with the morphology, of bones and with skeletons, as you can see behind me here. And our hypotheses about how these ancient animals lived and moved was based on how we could put these bones together in the physical world.
"And now for the first time in the history of paleontology, we’re able to move beyond those methods and into this virtual landscape where we can test our biomechanical hypotheses in rigorous ways that were never possible before."
In February 2012, Dr. Lacovara’s paleontology department teamed up with the University’s engineering department to scan their fossils to make 3D models that could be made into fully working arms and legs. Wrap some engineered muscles around those… add more parts… and perhaps we’ve got the most accurate robot dinosaur ever made!
To read more, check out Printing dinosaurs: the mad science of new paleontology, from The Verge, July 2012.