Interact with a computer using Levitation as the medium

Art Press Release from Australia. Published by Rebecca Gabrielle Cannon on Tuesday 22 May 2012.

Interact with a computer using Levitation as the medium image Interact with a computer using Levitation as the medium image Interact with a computer using Levitation as the medium image Interact with a computer using Levitation as the medium image

ZeroN is a new physical/digital interaction element that can be levitated and moved freely by computer in a three dimensional space. Both the computer and people can move the ZeroN simultaneously. In doing so, people and computers can physically interact with one another in 3D space.

Users are invited to place or move the ZeroN just as they can place any other objects on surfaces. 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.

ZeroN can remember how it has been moved. Physical motions of people can be collected in this medium to preserve and play them back indefinitely. When the users move and release the ZeroN, it continues to float and starts to move along the same path. This allows a unique, tangible record of a user’s physical presence and motion which will continue to exist even after the death of the person.

Jinha Lee, MIT Media Lab Tangible Media Group,
in collaboration with
Rehmi Post, MIT Center for Bits and Atoms
Advisor: Hiroshi Ishii, MIT Media Lab Tangible Media Group

From Levitating Point to Levitating Space

To realize such interactions, we 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. Conventional levitation is for levitating an object at one point. In ZeroN Project, users can move a levitated object to anywhere in a predefined 3D space and leave it there without dropping it since the system constantly readjusts both magnetically and mechanically. It is about turning 3D space into levitating space.