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Watch MIT’s inFORM 3D Display Render Physical Objects Using Xbox Kinect

Tell your parents: your Xbox addiction is how you'll get into MIT.

MIT’s new inFORM 3D display recreates physical objects and motion with a grid of pins that position themselves at various heights to render objects. Basically, it works like one of those pin art toys you used to mash your face into to creep people out, but with the aid of 3D cameras, it’s capable of much more.


It’s like this, only with more science.

The main draw of the inFORM display is that the pins can be controlled remotely to take any shape, and with 3D cameras, they’re capable of mimicking the shape and movement of a real object. In fact, if you look closely, they’re actually using an Xbox Kinect camera to capture their 3D objects.

They’re imagining all kinds of uses for it from viewing topography and architecture to rendering data from medical scans. It’s also great for education, as it can display a physical representation of mathematical concepts, and you can touch the pins directly to interact with the data.

Of course, it’s just a proof of concept at this point, and the pins would probably have to be smaller and closer together for practical applications, but it’s pretty promising. We’re one step closer to the weird metal-viewscreen-Braniac stuff fromĀ Man of Steel.

(via The Verge and Tangible Media Group, image via MIT Media Lab and Heather Katsoulis)

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Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.