inFORM is a Dynamic Shape Display developed by the researches at the Tangible Media Group at MIT (Boston) that can render 3D content physically, so users can interact with digital information in a tangible way. In other words, users can interact with 3D objects thanks to a computer-operated device that manipulates actuators and linkages to move a set of pins on a board, allowing it to change shape 3-dimensionally, as if it were moving on its own.
inFORM is both a tool with immense potentialities of application, and a sort of animated work of art, an installation representing the first “digital body” ever. As shown in the video below, using inFORM is like having a digital extension of the body: the hands get out of the screeen, as they are reproduced by the pins movements.
At MIT the researchers say: “We are currently exploring a number of application domains for the inFORM shape display. One area we are working on is Geospatial data, such as maps, GIS, terrain models and architectural models. Urban planners and Architects can view 3D designs physically and better understand, share and discuss their designs. We are collaborating with the urban planners in the Changing Places group at MIT on this. In addition, inFORM would allow 3D Modelers and Designers to prototype their 3D designs physically without 3D printing (at a low resolution). Finally, cross sections through Volumetric Data such as medical imaging CT scans can be viewed in 3D physically and interacted with. We would like to explore medical or surgical simulations. We are also very intrigued by the possibilities of remotely manipulating objects on the table.”
Page about InFORM at MIT website
Article appeared on Boston Magazine
MIT Credits: Daniel Leithinger, Sean Follmer, Hiroshi Ishii
Academic Support: Alex Olwal
Software Engineering Support: Akimitsu Hogge, Tony Tang, Philip Schoessler
Hardware Engineering Support: Ryan Wistort, Guangtao Zhang, Cheteeri Smith, Alyx Daly, Pat Capulong, Jason Moran
Video and Photo Support: Basheer Tome, Jifei Ou