As the digital age progresses, we often wonder where on earth technology will take us next. At one time, we couldn’t see how a desktop computer could be improved upon, but in the space of thirty years we have gone from clunky, unwieldy towers, monitors and keyboards to sleek tablets and smartphones. Nobody saw those coming, and yet today they are in everyday use, and many of us hardly ever stop to think just how amazing the things we hold in our hands and use in our homes actually are. Technology has proved especially useful when it comes to how we communicate with one another. Who knew that we would progress from the Victorian invention of the telephone, through telegraph messages that could be sent and received in seconds all around the world, to email and eventually Skype and Facetime?
But what next for the future of communication technology? Well, that’s what the clever scientists at MIT Media Lab set out to find out. They have developed what they call the inFORM Dynamic Shape Display. Utilizing the technology of Microsoft’s Kinect motion camera, they have built a prototype communication device that allows users to remotely control a series of moveable blocks that render in real time what the camera sees in front of it. This allows the scientists to manipulate objects that are not physically in front of them, and it also allows them to, for example, show clients in offices that could be thousands of miles away what the plans look like for a new building, a new engineering design, or a new type of defense system.
Or they could just, y’know, use it to play with a ball! This is stunning stuff, and points to a whole new way of communicating remotely with one another. Imagine a serving soldier on the front line being able to touch the faces of his kids back home, for instance. The uses for this technology are mind-boggling.
Check it out: