MIT’s Tangible Media Group has created a shape-changing interface called “Materiable” that allows you to touch computer simulations.
The “Materiable” allows users to manipulate data and run simulations based on digital input says CNET.
Materiable, similar to InForm (turns 3D data into crude, physical representations in real-time), is a dynamic display that uses a Kinect camera to simulate the arms of a user in a different place in real-time.
It uses an army of pixel blocks, run by tiny motors that responds to touch and gives haptic feedback that can be manipulated by the user.
Materials like, sand, rubber and water can be stimulated using programmed pixels along with physics algorithms.
This could lead to the user interface to be used to exploring different properties or various materials.
A benefit of Materiable is that you could prototype landscape designs, and run complex simulations such as earthquakes and tsunamis.
The team at MIT has plans to rev up the force, speed and resolution of the shape display to better stimulate the materials.
Tangible Media Group hopes this technology can be used as a powerful educational learning tool. One day allowing children to touch rendered animals like turtles.
Engadget said, mathematicians can also see and “feel” wave equations, and manipulate them with their hands.
Many participants said that the touch perception was stronger that the visuals they were seeing, and noted that they didn’t even look down at the “Materiable” when describing what was occurring.