Modern telecommunications let you see and hear things across great distances -- but it does nothing for our sense of touch. Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology want to change that.
A group at the school's famed Media Lab have developed inFORM, a motorized board that can display digital information in a way that can be tangibly felt and manipulated. A computer pushes plastic pins up and down to form a 3D shape, similar to how a Pin Art toy works. A Microsoft Kinect sensor is used to detect a person's motion.
As MIT's demo video shows, inFORM could be used by designers to create physical models without 3D printing, by doctors to look at cross sections from medical scans and by students to visualize math equations.