MIT never seems to stop showing us new cool stuff. The latest invention is a morphing table with an interesting control interface. And their hopes are to actually put this technology to good use, not just as a cool thing.
Past research on shape displays has primarily focused on rendering content and user interface elements through shape output, with less emphasis on dynamically changing UIs. We propose utilizing shape displays in three different ways to mediate interaction: to facilitate by providing dynamic physical affordances through shape change, to restrict by guiding users with dynamic physical constraints, and to manipulate by actuating physical objects.
In other words they’re exploring ways in which we could interact with machines in the future.