Nation & World News

Best Video Of The Day? MIT’s 3-D Remote ‘Touching’ Device

By Mark Memmott on January 2nd, 2014

It’s tempting to say this is the coolest video we’ve seen so far this year, but a joke like that might make it sound like we’re not serious.

Really, there is something about this that strikes as amazing.

The Tangible Media Group at the MIT Media Lab calls its invention a “tangible user interface.”

What it does, The Associated Press writes, is allow a person in one location to move an object somewhere.

The “inFORM system,” according to the MIT Technology Review, “facilitates the real-time movement of physical ‘pixels’ on a table surface that move in accordance with data from a Kinect motion sensing input device.” The AP says a “depth-sensing camera” sends signals from the remote location to the “motorized pin screen” where something can then be manipulated.

You can see for yourself in the video what kind of things can be done already.

ITProPortal suggests that “an inForm device the size of a dinner table … could show moving faces, models of buildings for use in architectural design, or let you play real games such as mini golf.”

The Tangible Media Group is exploring several potential uses involving “maps, GIS [geographic information systems], terrain models and architectural models. Urban planners and Architects can view 3D designs physically and better understand, share and discuss their designs. … We would like to explore medical or surgical simulations. We are also very intrigued by the possibilities of remotely manipulating objects on the table.”

The MIT Technology Review says that “while it’s debatable whether we’ll ever be able to teleport objects or people around the world at the speed of light, the inFORM system from Tangible Media Group at MIT might be the seeds of the next best thing.”

We’re imagining a conference call where the people you’re talking to look they’re in the room. Very Star Trek-ish.

But we suspect Two-Way readers may many more thoughts about the technology be used. Serious and fun suggestions are welcome in the comments thread.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

Relatives of 3-year-old Syrian Kurdish boy Aylan Kurdi carry his body during a funeral procession for Aylan, his mother, Rehan, and his older brother, Galip, in Kobani, Syria, on Friday.

Father Of Drowned Syrian 3-Year-Old: ‘We Are Human Beings, Just Like Westerners’

Abdullah Kurdi, whose 3-year-old son’s lifeless body was photographed facedown on a Turkish beach, says: “I hope the world will learn something from it.”


Kentucky Clerk’s Office Issues Same-Sex Marriage License

A deputy clerk issued the license, while the elected county clerk spent the morning in jail. A gay couple who had tried five times before finally got their marriage license.


In this photo taken in July, Gustavo Monteagudo fills out a job application at a job fair in Miami Lakes, Fla. The U.S. unemployment rate dipped to a seven-year low for August, to just 5.1 percent.

Unemployment Rate Dips To 5.1 Percent Amid 173,000 New Jobs In August

The latest job-creation figure fell short of economists’ forecasts. But the reports from the Department of Labor added a total of 44,000 jobs to the tallies for June and July.


A man lifts up a child next to a train that was stopped in Bicske, Hungary, on Friday. More than 150,000 people have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia.

Refugees Leave Budapest Train Station, Vowing To Walk To Germany

Also: The father of a 3-year-old Syrian boy who drowned in the Aegean Sea buries his family, and in Hungary, 2,300 migrants at a refugee camp near the Serbian border have threatened to break out.


President Obama meets Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz in Riyadh in January. The president is hosting King Salman at the White House today.

Obama To Reassure Saudi King Amid Concerns Over Iran Nuclear Deal

To prove its support for Gulf Arab allies, the Obama administration is stepping up military sales to Saudi Arabia. The president hosts King Salman at the White House today.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments