Is 3D Chat the New FaceTime?

Being able to see whoever you were speaking to while on the phone using FaceTime, was considered a major accomplishment. Now imagine having the ability to actually interact physically from a distance. Soldiers could hold their newborn baby, parents could comfort a homesick child, or doctors could give a medical exam without ever leaving their office. Tangible Media is in the process of developing a new technology called inFORM Dynamic Shape Display, that can do just that!

The screen shows the user’s face and upper body just like a normal call, but the user’s arms and hands are recreated below the screen. The technology uses a tabletop covered in small white squares that rise up to form a 3D image. Picture the child’s toy that has pins in it where you put your hand in to form an image – only far more advanced.

A projector on the ceiling beams down light to give the display color. Daniel Leithinger, one of Tangible Media’s top scientists, says “when you move your hands, not only do you have the shape of the hands, but you also see the color, the texture of the hands.”  You can actually see and feel a 3D image of the person you are talking to!



If this idea has staying power it could change the way we communicate… again. It’s still in the early stages of development, but this could be one of the biggest ideas of 2013. Being able to actually touch things from miles away is incredible and seems like something out of a science fiction novel, but it could be how we all communicate in a few years!

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