To be able to defy gravity was one of the oldest dreams of mankind since the days of ancient civilizations, through Leonardo Da Vinci and the Wright brothers. Levitation is the process by which an object is suspended by a physical force against gravity, in a stable position without solid physical contact. A number of different techniques have been developed to levitate matter, including the aerodynamic, magnetic, and electromagnetic methods.
What is interesting then about the work by Jinha Lee at MIT Media Lab on Levitation? The whole story is about interaction and fine-grained control of behavior of levitating objects.
ZeroN is about “liberating matter from the constraints of space by blending the physical and digital world“. ZeroN is a physical/digital interaction element that can be levitated and moved freely by computer in a three dimensional space. To realize such interactions, the researcher developed a magnetic control system that can levitate and actuate a permanent magnet in a pre- defined 3D volume. This is combined with an optical tracking and display system that projects images on the levitating object. Once levitated, ZeroN’s behavior can be digitally programmed. For example, users can place the sun above physical objects to cast digital shadows, or place a planet that will start revolving based on simulated physical conditions.
Take a look at the video below to see how that works.
All this relates to augmenting human experience in a way that opens new possibilities to digital interaction in physically controlled environments.
You can learn more about this project from Jinha Lee Blog here:
Really a good job!
This post is also available in: Italian