The MIT Tangible Media Group has come up with a “Shape Changing Interface” called LineFORM. Getting its name from its shape, the all-in-one, worm-like robot can switch from one task to another, flexing to whatever form necessary.
Using a technology called an “actuated curve interface,” LineFORM has the potential to function as a variety of things, including: a mobile device, a shape-changing cord for a device, a reading lamp and a “smart” ruler among many other tasks.
The outside appears like a soft, lumpy worm, but the inside parts consist of several small servo motors and covered with a touch sensor-embedded spandex skin. Just like your smartphone is a phone, computer, game system, radio and camera all in one, the makers hope that this “all-in-one” device will eliminate the need for unnecessary hardware.
The LineFORM is currently just a prototype, but it serves as a relatively functional model to understand its abilities. In demos, one particular issue observed by visitors is that the LineFORM can “startle” or make users uncomfortable with its rapid shifting – something its makers are taking into consideration for future prototypes.
SO WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Will this all-in-one technology replace superfluous hardware? What applications would it prove to be most beneficial in?
Email us or leave your comments below.
Tune in every weekday for your next Manufacturing Minute.