MIT team researches a way to go beyond the screen

Beyond is the brainchild of Jinha Lee and Hiroshi Ishii, both at MIT. It is an interface for 3-D design where users can directly manipulate digital media with physically retractable tools and natural hand gestures. When pushed into a screen the tools physically collapse and project themselves onto the screen, letting users perceive as if they are inserting tools into the digital realm beyond. Its aim is to make the digital 3-D design process scalable and more accessible to users.

The team developed two different collapsible tools for the first prototype, a pen and a saw, as well as using lexicon of gestures developed by Oblong Industries.

Using the tools and gestures, users can select and draw in 3D, they can cut and trim surfaces of shapes by inserting tools into the virtual space. A sliding actuator inside the tools creates force feedback when tools touch the objects being manipulated.

First, users can sketch rough design in 3D with free-line drawing techniques. Next step is to define discreet shape on top of its rough sketch by specifying locations and other critical parameters with tools and operate functions with gestures. In the middle of the design process users can always modify its design by using other types of tools.

The gestures are used to compliment tool manipulations and indicate functions such as surface extrusion or desired shapes to be created.

Beyond – Collapsible Input Device for Direct 3D Manipulation beyond the Screen (FULL) from Jinha Lee on Vimeo.