Cubimorph, a new touchscreen prototype is being presented this week at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2016 in Stockholm, Sweden.
The project is the result of a collaboration between the universities of Bristol, Lancaster, Purdue, and Sussex.
What is this new gizmo? It’s a shape-shifting touchscreen made up of a chain of cubes in a Rubik’s cube kind of manner; the cubes are locked in together in different configurations and connect through “turntable-mounted hinges”. Each of the cubes has touchscreens embedded into the six slides.
The Cubimorph will change its shape depending on the task the user wants to do, being able to “form any approximate 3D geometry” and it is the result of the research led by Dr. Anne Roudaut from Bristol University.
This study aimed to make advances in the modular interactive technology; at the present there are a few samples of folded devices, but with Cubimorph researchers want to take the technology one step further and offer three-dimensional shapes.
In an example of how the device works, the developers explain that by launching a game, from its regular rectangular shape, Cubimorph will “morph” into a game controller.
The will image will appear across the mini screens much like the multiscreen displays seen in bars or other public spaces.
An algorithm tells the device what path to take when changing shapes so that accidents like snapping shut on the handler’s fingers or colliding cubes are prevented.
Users can set it to morph gently or rapidly. You wouldn’t want to slap someone by mistake with your straight line morphed device.
Roudaut wants a collaboration between the robotic communities and the human computer interaction for Cubimorph. Through mutually beneficial work, this technology would reach the end-user much faster.
Ultimately the cube is designed to enrich the user’s interaction with a device, and their proof of concept prototypes demonstrate how this technology would do just that. With the free-faces, seamless surfaces, and cool 3D geometries, the Cunimorph is a promising gizmo that we can already see in the hands of teens all over the world.
The internet is already making Cubimorph viral with the Cubimorph: Designing Modular Interactive Devices video BristolIG has just uploaded.
Image source: AlphaGalileo