Shaping the Future of Online Interaction

Posted by Ben Miller on Nov 28, 2013 9:17:08 AM

Did you ever think it was possible to pick up, move and mould an object from half-way around the world? Developers at MIT Media Lab have recently developed a technology to do just this, and more. This is a ground-breaking innovation that has the potential to revolutionize our experience of cyberspace – and indeed, of physical space.

With a visionary grasp of the internet’s potential way back in 1997, when many were still getting their heads around the email, the Tangible Media Group started work on enabling remote real-world interaction through digital information. In the video below, we see a user sitting remotely, moving and picking up objects by moving his hands and having those movements relayed in real time to a set of moving bars that behave like pixels moving in three dimensions.

It’s called inFORM, and it needs no further introduction. The video speaks for itself:



Developing this technology could lead to endless applications – the possibilities are mind-boggling. Online gaming, online user-generated content, shopping, the workplace, innovation, education…

Imagine hiring a room with design and 3D-printing machinery for a few hours, and operating it remotely from your home or office, before having the final products sent to your chosen destination. This could transform business processes and democratize access to manufacturing.

Imagine drawing images of an object you want to create, having a computer interpolate and render it in 3D to someone in another country, who could feed back advice and analysis on it. This could transform remote collaboration, for researchers working at different universities as much as for global corporations in need of quick market research.

Imagine a remote examination from your doctor. This could unlock access to healthcare for those among the elderly and immobile who would struggle to make it to a physical appointment.

The team is set to continue working on its innovation, further developing this “tangible user interface” (an evolution of the GUI). They continue working towards their vision of bringing the digital into the physical world, where all data has a physical manifestation so we can interact with it directly. This astounding innovation could soon begin to shape the future of our interaction with the digital.



Topics: Innovation Insights

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