MIT Mobile Cloud

The MIT Mobile Experience lab has just developed this ambitious interactive installation called The Cloud. Located in Firenze, Italy, The Cloud is a sort of sculpture with over 15,000 LEDs and several miles of fiber optics. The tips of the fibers glow, but they also change colors in response to human interaction, including touching it or standing near it. The Cloud uses a combination of proximity and touch sensors to achieve this. It also has two cameras and a microphone, which allows it draw input from various sources and output a much richer, more organic response.

[via Cool Hunting]

15 thoughts on “MIT Mobile Cloud

  1. JPElectron, just because people do not want to spend “their” (Please note its their time) on your personal favorite pet projects, does not mean that it is a waste. You are as bad as those guys who flame people who build neat expensive things or break world records instead of giving all their money to starving albino children in Uzbekistan, or dump it into the Save the South Carolina Polar Bear Fund. Its their project I assume its their fiber optic cable. If you want to “save the Earth” or fight against “the man” (net neutrality and pollution are bother very important mind you, and I commend you for being concerned about them) then by all means please do. But as a university student myself (not at MIT) I find your intention to dictate what students do for their projects appalling. Really you have two options to make your wish of educational tyranny a reality either go to MIT as a student and lead a project to your own ends, or become a professor there and tell your students they have to “save the world or the internet or else they all fail.” Either that or you could just solve your own problems and stop waiting for the kids at MIT to fix things for you. (if you are doing your part then I commend you for that as well, but not every body has to be on the same page as you, that my friend is the wonderful thing about free will and choice).

  2. Nothing creative is ever a waste of time. Creativity is what separates intelligence from the brute with the club. Sure more efforts would be applauded by working on your suggestions, but perhaps this was done in their spare time? Perhaps this was the break they needed to inspire the next breakthrough?
    Don’t be so harsh, just because it has no ‘obvious’ real world application. Otherwise, we’ll just lump you in with the rest of the barbarians.

  3. Obviously, Matt’s right, it’s their project, and therefore up to them, and them alone.


    This project does strike me as a waste of time. If a project doesn’t serve any useful purpose, that generally doesn’t bother me, nor does it bother me when a project has little artistic value, or little technological value, but for a project to have been worth while there has to have SOMETHING interesting about it.

    This project isn’t bad as an academic exercise, but for MIT students the bar’s just too high for that alone to justify it.

  4. Interesting project that melds art with tech. I think I’d be simply satisfied that someone is actually interested in the technology and wants to make art out of it instead of just picking up a paint brush and slapping paint on a canvas. Inventiveness and Creativity are the same concepts. Hackers wouldn’t be hackers if they weren’t creative.

  5. wow look at the flaming. I bet noone read their site fully or they would have seen the following:

    Students of the Design Without Boundaries workshop, MIT, Fall 2007

    Pitti Immagine
    This project is part of an ongoing research collaboration between Pitti Immagine and MIT Mobile Experience Lab, rethinking trade shows

    The intent of the project was to be art + tech to draw attention for trade shows. It’s a marketing gimmick. That was it’s purpose.. hype.

    Sure this is not groundbreaking in the sense that it will solve the worlds problems but I bet any quantum physics guys out there who believe in “wave theory” would be curious to see the data garnered by the organic interactions that this thing could catalog.

    That is just my $0.02

  6. While it is an interesting use of optics and sensors, I must agree with the first poster. With all the mental capacity funneled through that school, one expects a little more from an MIT project.


  7. Most things invented are useless. Instead of always inventing something with purpose sometimes things are invented and then a purpose is found after or not at all.

    “The best things in life are silly”

  8. Is it just me or was there seemingly no interaction when the woman was touching the fiber optics? All it was doing was vibrating when she passed her hands over it and that’s what it normally does. Either the interactivity is extremely limited or it’s just not there. It’s an interesting art project, but it’s not something I haven’t seen in a Fiber Optic Xmas tree.

  9. Aside from the ripple effect when she flicked some of the fibers (around 1:58), I didn’t see a lot of interaction, either. If the system could sense her flicking the fibers and react dynamically, they could have spiced up the video a little more. Really showed it off.
    15,000 individually addressable optical fibers sounds complicated. I’m wondering how well those same fibers would conduct the light from a flat panel display. If the “inside” ends were tightly grouped and placed near or against an LCD monitor at maximum brightness, then their “outside” ends arranged like the cloud, I’m wondering if text scrolling across the LCD screen would have a result similar to the “ciao” displayed across the “cloud”. I’ll have to dig up my fiber optics test kit sometime and test it out. :)

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