ZeroN

Levitated Interaction Element

Art Artwork from United States. Published by M.C.A. on Monday 21 May 2012.

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Year: 2012
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.

I think there is something fundamental behind motivations to liberate physical matter from gravity and enable control. The motivation has existed as a shared dream amongst humans for millennia. It is an idea found in mythologies, desired by alchemists, and visualized in Science Fiction movies. I have aspired to create a space where we can experience a glimpse of this future. A space where materials are free from gravitational constraints and controllable through computing technologies.ZeroN is about liberating materials from the constraints of space and time by blending the physical and digital world.

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