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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?

via FastCoDesign.