inForm Allows You to Reach Through Screens and Touch Things

What is inForm, the latest cool tech invention developed by MIT Media Lab’s Tangible Media Group?

Well, according to them, inFORM is a Dynamic Shape Display that can render 3D content physically, so users can interact with digital information in a tangible way. inFORM can also interact with the physical world around it, for example moving objects on the table’s surface. Remote participants in a video conference can be displayed physically, allowing for a strong sense of presence and the ability to interact physically at a distance.

Sphere Hands

How does this happen? Past research on shape displays has primarily focused on rendering content and user interface elements through shape output, with less emphasis on dynamically changing UIs.

These guys are proposing utilizing shape displays in three different ways to create interaction: providing dynamic physical affordances through shape change; restricting by guiding users with dynamic physical constraints; manipulating by actuating physical objects.

The inForm system is built on top of a state-of-the-art shape display, which provides for variable stiffness rendering and real-time user input through direct touch and tangible interaction.

For more on this amazing breakthrough, check out the Tangible Media Group.