View Mobile Site

COOL HUNTING

show nav
View Desktop Site

COOL HUNTING

Cadillac Charged Branding

A showcase of the visionary technology and design driving innovation throughout all aspects of our culture and creating the next generation of luxury, which is smarter, personalized and free of compromise.

Charged: Leo Villareal Interview
Charged: Magnus Nilsson of Fäviken
I'm a cadillac charged article.

Charged:
inFORM, a Revolutionary Design Tool

New technology from MIT’s Media Lab presents a game-changer for designers and architects

by Kat Herriman in Tech on 03 April 2014

Virtual reality has made huge strides over the past few years, but for pioneers like the scientists at the MIT Media Lab, digital simulations have begun taking actual, material shape. Formally known as the Tangible Bits project (which was presented by the lab all the way back in 1997), MIT’s Radical Atoms initiative is an ongoing program that seeks to give digital information a physical form. And, with the introduction of their latest break-through project, inFORM, it seems that the scientists and developers are well on their way to rewriting what it means to get digital.

charged-inform-1.jpg

Developed by a team that includes Sean Follmer, Daniel Leithinger, Alex Olwal, Akimitsu Hogge and Hiroshi Ishii, inFORM is the first step in realizing computer-rendered 3D objects and motions as real-life forms and movements. Made from 900 actuators connected to a grid of slender square pins, inForm uses two Microsoft Kinect cameras to capture digital renderings, which are then transformed into tangible models. Limited only by the scope of the grid, the accuracy of the technology enables a fluid interaction between the user and the digital, allowing for real-time editing through touch alone. Citing abstract sculptors like Alexander Calder and Constantin Brâncuși as inspiration, inFORM researcher and developer Sean Follmer spoke to CH regarding the project’s potential creative applications. “Basically, we were very interested in thinking of new tools for designers, and specifically the aspect of prototyping and how to improve that process,” he says.

It’s rare for such an advanced and sophisticated piece of technology to be so playful. Yet inFORM’s potential reaches far beyond the novelty of seeing one’s digitally rendered fingers toy with a real tennis ball. For designers, engineers and architects, it represents a new tool that can transform CAD models on-screen into tangible, low-res objects. More flexible and versatile than a 3D printer, the technology could enable architects and urban planners not only to see how their renderings interact with space, but also allow them to see how their structures work with the actual landscape. “With fields like urban planning, where massing and scale are important elements of the design, there is valuable contextual information that is lost when you simply print it out,” explains Follmer. “The shape-display solves that problem.”

charged-inform-3A.jpg charged-inform-3B.jpg

As for the group’s next step, Follmer says the goal is to create a system that would enable two users to work on the same model while also being able to provide tactile feedback to one another. “If we think about how we collaborate in person, there are so many hand gestures and movements that go into working with someone else, but when we work remotely that begins to break down,” explains Follmer. “So we thought, 'How can we simulate those same interactions so that people can work together effectively without being in the same room?'”

charged-inform-4.jpg

To be sure, inFORM technology is a long way off being a household object, but the principles behind the project represent a new age of interactive surfaces in which pixels are synonymous with matter and designers are no longer limited by the expenses of prototyping or the restraints of working with a global team. Follmer says, “We think of it as a tool for prototyping, but in the not-too-distant future, the technology will become a medium of its own that will enable people to interact with digital information in a more natural way.”

Images courtesy of MIT Media Lab

advertisement

Get Cool Hunting delivered to your inbox every weekday morning

Cadillac Charged Branding

A showcase of the visionary technology and design driving innovation throughout all aspects of our culture and creating the next generation of luxury, which is smarter, personalized and free of compromise.

Charged:
Solaire Generation

Depending on where you live, parking lots can either feel like a terrific waste of space or woefully inadequate for city needs. Still, they are everywhere, not to mention a critical component of urban planning. Since 2008, Solaire Generation has...

Charged:
Lowline and the Remote Skylight

As the most talked about urban planning project in NYC of recent times—alongside the Plus Pool, perhaps—the Lowline continues to capture the attention of the creative community and beyond through its development from concept to construction. In the...

Charged:
Shindo Laboratory

The 2011 documentary "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" at first appears to be a film about an 85-year-old sushi chef and his world-famous dishes, though it's really about a man's lifelong quest to continually make better sushi—to continually strive to master...

Charged:
Jim Campbell in NYC

While the boundaries between contemporary art and technology have grown increasingly blurry—thanks to everything from biologically-inspired knitted structures to oil that "defies" gravity—there are, surprisingly, only a handful of artists who delve...

Charged:
Isaïe Bloch

At the most recent 3D Printshow in London, artist and architect Isaïe Bloch took top honors as Artist of the Year with his work "Satire." The intricate sculpture is just one of many that illuminates his multidisciplinary mastery, magnetizing vision...

Charged:
Lucy McRae

If Lady Gaga were to give up the music and focus solely on design she might look a lot like Lucy McRae, whose artistic biotech-tinged productions make today's wearable technology look like candy bracelets. The self-proclaimed "body architect's" creations...

Charged:
Daguerre's American Legacy

Following two highly acclaimed runs at museums in greater-Paris, photo-historian William B. Becker's collection of daguerreotypes—the first widespread photographic process involving imagery cast upon a highly polished silver surface—is about to make...

Charged:
The Smartest Home

In recent years, the ways in which we as culture interact with technology has shifted. Much in the same way the iPhone completely changed how cell phones, cameras and music players are considered, devices like thermostats that learn how warm you...

Charged:
Magnus Nilsson of Fäviken

The first signs of spring are just starting to show in the low mountains of the Jämtland region of Sweden (600 kilometers northwest of Stockholm) and the stores of preserved wild grasses, cured calf liver and other uniquely Scandinavian delicacies...

Charged:
inFORM, a Revolutionary Design Tool

Virtual reality has made huge strides over the past few years, but for pioneers like the scientists at the MIT Media Lab, digital simulations have begun taking actual, material shape. Formally known as the Tangible Bits project (which was presented...

Charged:
Leo Villareal Interview

by Michael Slenske Two decades ago, New York-based light sculptor Leo Villareal attended Burning Man (the annual week-long art event in Black Rock City, Nevada, which culminates around a wooden sculpture of a man set on fire) and the experience changed...

Charged:
Sougwen Chung

Sougwen Chung has always had an affinity for computers and digital technology. The artist had her first website at the age of ten—"an oddly personal site," she recalls. In addition to the language of code, Chung is also conversant in music. Her father...

Charged:
Afterguard

Racing out on the ocean, the wind can whip mercilessly and consistently, throwing an endless barrage of sea-spray and hurtling your craft faster than its sails and keel can handle. Other times, a swirling gust changes directions without notice or...

Charged:
The Future of Flying

Early this year, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) began rolling out an ambitious overhaul program targeted at streamlining the passenger experience. Called NextGen, the initiative aims to usher in the next generation of air travel. Drawing...

Charged:
Shih Chieh Huang

Since Marcel Duchamp and his bicycle wheel (and urinal), countless artists have included daily objects into their work. There may only be one, though, who uses them to create bioluminescent "living" organisms. Taiwanese-American artist Shih Chieh...

Charged:
HYT Watches

It was 2012 when Swiss watchmaker HYT (short for Hydro Technology) shocked the industry with its H1 wristwatch, but the initial design for the first watch to indicate time with liquid began almost a decade prior. That's when company founder Lucien...

Charged:
Ingo Maurer Interview

Few industrial designers have earned a foothold in the greater creative culture like Ingo Maurer, the German-born, New York-based designer of lighting and lighting installations. In the decades since founding his own design practice, Ingo Maurer...

Charged:
Solar Impulse 2

It's staggering to think that, within less than a century, we've gone from Charles Lindbergh piloting the first solo transatlantic flight—Long Island to Paris in the Spirit of St. Louis—to two Swiss adventurers on the cusp of circumnavigating the...

Charged:
Troika

Founded by three friends upon graduating from London’s Royal College of Art in 2003, Troika is a collective and Cool Hunting favorite whose work continues to forge new ground in art. Installing site-specific projects everywhere from Mexico City...

Charged:
Neil Harbisson and Cybernetics in the Arts

While the term "wearable technology" might make you think of a fitness tracker or Dick Tracy-esque talking wristwatch, Barcelona-based artist Neil Harbisson wears an antenna that is permanently implanted in his head. Diagnosed with achromatopsia...

Charged:
Redesigning an Icon

Since its founding in 1902, Cadillac has stood as an American icon of automobile design that hails straight from the heart of Detroit. When the future-facing brand unveiled its sleek, modern new insignia design on the 2015 ATS Coupe earlier last...

Charged:
Ressence Watches

The world took note when Benoît Mintiens, founder of the Antwerp-based Ressence watches, released the Type 3 watch at Baselworld in 2013. The industrial designer had constructed a watch like no other; the watch face appears to dance across its crystal...

Charged:
Indie Wearable Tech Brands

As companies like Nike, Google, and Apple rush to be at the forefront of wearable technology, a group of startups and tech incubators are making a strong case for why consumers may need to look elsewhere for the next big thing. With products emerging...

Charged:
The Future of Cadillac Design

At some point in the last decade, Cadillac made a conscious decision to not be all things to all people. By sharpening silhouettes, narrowing lines and hardening angles, the cars developed an entirely new personality, one meant to attract a more design...

Charged:
Five Next-Gen Digital Cameras

Since the first widely available digital cameras hit the market in the early '90s, the technical leaps made in the field of digital photography have been exponential. Today smartphones house cameras with sensors that dwarf those of high-end models...

Charged:
Cory Arcangel's Art and Apparel

by Michael Slenske In the early 2000s, Buffalo-born artist Cory Arcangel hacked the Hogan’s Alley video game and replaced the Nintendo gunslingers with silhouettes of Andy Warhol, Colonel Sanders, Flavor Flav and the Pope for a cheeky piece he called...

Charged:
Bryce Wolkowitz Interview

Slightly obscured by the glare of the gallery’s impossibly tall and tinted windows, the lines of Robert Currie’s wiry, site-specific installation stretch toward the entrance of Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery. Unassumingly elegant, Currie’s sculpture looks...

Charged Video:
Aerosyn-Lex Meštrović

With an extensive background in calligraphy and graphic design, New York City–based artist Aerosyn-Lex Mestrovic elegantly meshes the two visual forms across an array of media. Strongly rooted at the base of all his work is a visceral connection...

Charged:
Smart LEDs for the Home

Bright ideas are coming from every design sector, as engineers, artists and scientists join industrial designers in creating the technologies and products that will define the future of light. Today, it's inherently progressive industries like LEDs...

Charged:
High-Tech Summer Essentials

Whether your summer plans have you headed overseas for a safari or only as far as the backyard, smart tech is getting more clever and more seasonally conscious. From air conditioners that know when you're on your way home and can be operated by smartphones...