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MIT creates shapeshifting furniture that can transform with a gesture

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MIT Media Lab's Transform Table
MIT Media Lab's Transform Table
Tangible Media Group/MIT Media Lab

Last year, MIT's Tangible Media Group unveiled the inFORM, a digital project that, by sensing presence and gestures, could let the user interact with physical objects remotely. The project rests comfortably between graphical user interfaces and tactile user interfaces, as it envisions a future where people might shake hands with the person they're video chatting with. MIT has now followed the project up with Transform, which takes the inFORM concept and uses it to make transformable furniture.

The Transform table made its debut at the Lexus Design Amazing exhibition in Milan. It employs three "Dynamic Shape Displays" that collectively move 1,000 pins that respond to gestures in real-time. The display can undulate in wave forms, and is designed to remind the owner of water or sand.

As with inFORM, the Transform table is an early look at what MIT hopes will be interface design for everyday physical objects in and outside the home. As co-creator Sean Follmer told Fast Company, "Imagine a car with a shapeshifting dashboard!"