Ralf Baecker

Interface I investigates the boundary between two interacting systems rendered into the physical. Each system is a compound of motors, strings and elastic bands arranged horizontally. The two units face each other vertically (one on the top, one on the bottom). Each motor of one level (top, bottom) is connected to its opponent with a string, meeting in the center. Both motors pull their string in the opposite direction (like in a tug of war). At the junction of the strings, a mesh of elastic bands connects the string to its neighbours. The mesh couples each element to its surrounding elements in order to achieve a local emergent behaviour.

Tangible Media Group


A few months ago, an MIT team showed the inForm physical interface, which mimics its movements in real time. This week in Milan, they presented the next iteration of the system, much bigger and even more sophisticated. You need to see the videos. The team is called Tangible Media Group, led by Professor Hiroshi Ishii; they explore how digital interfaces – present in every gadget we use – can be transformed into physical objects.

And we also have this new prototype, called Transform, which comes even closer to that vision. The team describes the table to Co.Design as a piece of furniture transformed into “a dynamic machine driven by the flow of data and energy”, thanks to the three panels on its surface.