menu

Magnetic Bricks Create Touchscreen Animations You Can Play With [Video]

Design

A new interaction system for touchscreen devices goes beyond gestures.

Rachel Pincus
  • 3 april 2014

With all the positive changes that touchscreen devices have brought to our everyday lives, we don’t often think about the limitations of their design. However, smartphones and tablets are very much adapted to the human hand, and until recently, their ability to respond to even multiple fingers was limited. Though this works well for everyday tasks like checking email or playing games, it makes sense that intrepid designers are continually searching for new modes of interaction. Switching habits, after all, unlocks new types of creativity with our digital companions, whose potential is far from having been reached.

With GaussBricks, enterprising users can create real analogs for virtual objects, such as pong paddles or springs, or even animate their own creatures in real time.

Photos_for_Press5.jpg

Developed by researchers at National Taiwan University and Academia Sinica, GaussBricks are named after Friedrich Gauss, the German scientist who named the unit of measurement for magnetic flux. They work by interacting with a grid of sensors attached to the back of a tablet that track the magnetic field around each jointed brick as it touches or approaches the screen. An algorithm recreates and displays the bricks in digital form.

In the rush to make everything intangible, the creators of GaussBricks believe that we’ve forgotten the satisfying feeling and creative possibilities of tactile feedback. “We live in a physical world where we grasp physical things,” developer Rong-Hao Liang told the New Scientist. He believes the bricks could have a variety of educational or therapeutic uses, and hopes that others will see the project as a springboard toward other creative endeavors. “We are trying to make the project open source,” he added. “We hope that other engineers and designers will come up with new uses for the technology to bring it beyond the lab and make a real impact.”

GaussBricks will make their debut at CHI 2014 in Toronto, a festival for human-computer interaction. Check out how they work below:

GaussBricks
[h/t]
New Scientist, Discovery News

Design
Trending

DIY Kit Lets You Build Your Own Wooden Bike, Boat Or Caravan

Design & Architecture
Culture Yesterday

Messaging Add-On Helps You Correct Your Friends’ Bad Grammar

An iMessage sticker pack will help you copyedit text messages

Automotive Yesterday

Mercedes-Benz Introduces A New Electric Mobility Brand

The separate entity aims to simplify the identification of Mercedes EV products to customers

Trending

Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Mobile Yesterday

Tinder’s New Feature Makes Swiping A Group Effort

The dating app wants to democratize its gestural interaction by buying in to the social polling trend pervasive among millennials

Related Expert

Keith Butters

Brand Experience Creator

Syndicated Yesterday

Autonomous Garbage Drone Prevents Trash From Reaching Deep Ocean

The solar-powered WasteShark collects refuse closer to the source: the harbor

Automotive Yesterday

Aston Martin Reveals Its Own Luxury Powerboat

The sleek AM37 echoes styling elements from the British brand's sports cars

Advertising Yesterday

An Escort Website Fights Violence Against Sex Workers

The advocacy campaign from McCann aims uncover the human toll of the exploitative industry

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed september 28, 2016

Energy Expert: How American Consumers Are Taking Control Of Their Power Use

Jennifer Tuohy, green tech expert at The Home Depot, discusses green home technologies and developments for renewable technologies in US homes

PSFK Labs september 29, 2016

The 10 Steps To Discover, Hire, Develop Your Next Leader

PSFK's Future of Work report outlines key steps in the employee development path to empower next-gen leaders

Culture Yesterday

LIFE Magazine Relaunches In Pure VR

The general interest periodical, which ceased publication in 2000, has turned into a portal for virtual reality content

Mobile Yesterday

Reorder This Detox Drink With A Simple Text Message

Dirty Lemon is streamlining its communication by letting customers place orders, ask product questions and request help exclusively through chat

Op-Ed Yesterday

The Future Of The American Workforce Requires Unbundling College Education

President of JetBlue Technology Ventures: developing corporate education programs for non-traditional students

Retail Yesterday

Gilt’s Pop-Up House Is The Kind Of Store You’ll Want To Live In

The New York City townhouse plays host to the latest in retail inspiration, curation, and lifestyle activation (and some libations, too)

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

Mobile Yesterday

Registering To Vote Is Now Just A Text Away

A new bot aims to mobilize underrepresented groups this election season through SMS and Facebook Messenger

Africa Yesterday

Virtual Reality Game Gives Lessons About Emergency Birth Care

LIFE is a serious tool that takes advantage of new technology to help save lives

Luxury Yesterday

Shoe Repair Has Moved Onto Your Phone

Cobbler Concierge is an on-demand service to get your footwear fixed online

No search results found.