Robotic Tabletop

Remember pin art? That’s the little box full of pins that you can push something into and the pins take on the shape. You usually use your hand, but any small object works (including, if you are brave enough, your face). [Sean Follmer] (formerly at the MIT Media Lab) developed the reverse of this: a surface made of pins driven by motors. Under computer control, the surface can take on shapes all by itself.

The square pins can be seen in the video below moving and manipulating blocks and using them to build structures out of the blocks. By using the right sequence of pin motions, the blocks can be flipped and even stacked. Magnetic blocks offer even more options.

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Wearable projector adds info to everyday activities


[Pattie Maes] from MIT’s Media Lab showed a really interesting augmented reality demo at TED this year. It’s a wearable projector that lets you interact with any surface. A camera tracks the gestures your fingertips make and performs related actions. She shows several uses: projecting a dial pad on your hand, displaying additional info on a product you’re holding, and taking a picture when you form a frame with your hands. The current equipment cost is $350, but that would be reduced in a dedicated device.

[via Waxy]