menu

Tiny Robots Morph Into The Controller Of Your Choice [Video]

Design

Thumbles move along a tabletop projection and can be moved to interact with a software application.

Leah Gonzalez
  • 28 april 2014

Interaction media design and technology company Patten Studio has created a robotic table user interface platform called Thumbles, which are basically small robots that represent a new way for users to interact with software applications.

The tiny robots move around on a tabletop projection and users can grab and move the robots to interact with a piece of software. The computer can also move the robots around in response. The robots are fitted with omniwheels that allow them to easily move in any direction without the need to make turns.

Designer James Patten, founder and principal of Patten Studio, said,

My inspiration was that I wanted to make computers more social, playful and flexible. Our bodies and minds are so well suited to interacting with physical objects. If we can use these objects to represent information inside a computer, so many new possibilities are created.

Patten-Studio-Thumbles-2.jpg

Patten-Studio-Thumbles-3.jpg

Thumbles move and rearrange themselves on the table surface to fit the user’s needs. For example, they can be used in editing images and videos. The small robots can become dials and knobs to adjust sound and colors. The robots can be used to play arcade games and even help scientists in visualizing compounds in their molecular form. Another application demonstrated by the studio is emergency response control and coordination. The robots can move around like vehicles on a virtual map.

Thumbles were designed to show how people and computers can work together to develop solutions to various problems.

The clip below shows a demo of how the tiny robots work.

Thumbles // Patten Studio

Design
Trending

How Indiegogo Is Becoming An Adult Product Destination

Retail
Home september 23, 2016

Watch This Fire Pit Dance Along To Your Favorite Song

Music City Fire is a system that is designed to flicker in time to ambient music

Automotive september 23, 2016

Slick GPS Navigator Gives Directions To Moped Riders

This small, round device attaches to a sideview mirror to display maps for safer traveling

Trending

Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Home september 23, 2016

A Clock That Beautifully Manages Your Information Overload

The wall-mounted timekeeper is made to help people maintain focus and stay up to date with their appointments

Arts & Culture september 23, 2016

Performance Piece Blends Dancers Into Folds Of Light

The work provides commentary on the increasing connection between programmed and analog dimensions

Design & Architecture september 23, 2016

Design Firm Adapts Childhood Homes For Unemployed Young Adults

The studio has unveiled three prototypes of transformed living spaces for people forced to move back in with their families

Health september 23, 2016

These Chocolate Squares Claim To Reverse The Aging Process

A group of researchers from Cambridge University have developed a candy bar that promises to give you a youthful glow

Cities september 23, 2016

Food-Producing Architecture Competition Seeks To Better Feed Cities

A design challenge in Copenhagen highlights the need and beauty of urban farming

PSFK LABS REPORT

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

PSFK Op-Ed september 23, 2016

Productivity Expert: The Magic Of The Five-Hour Workday

Stephan Aarstol, Founder of Tower Paddle Boards, explains why the modern notion of office hours needs to evolve

PSFK Labs september 22, 2016

The Future Of Work: Why Innovation Is Every Employee’s Job

PSFK Labs sits down with management at Johnson & Johnson to learn how the company comes up with their next ‘big idea’

Health september 23, 2016

Wearable Monitors Sun Exposure To Prevent Sunburn

The clip monitors UV rays to make sure you're not receiving too much sunlight

Culture september 23, 2016

This Exhibition’s Crowning Jewel Is An 18k Gold-Plated Toilet

The piece, titled 'America,' is meant to raise questions about the country's wealth inequality

Culture september 23, 2016

Match Up With Dates On Tinder Based On Your Music Preferences

A new partnership with Spotify lets people pair up based on shared tastes in artists

Entertainment september 23, 2016

Capture, Cut Up, And Configure Your World In 360 Degrees

To meet a booming 360 and VR video-capturing industry, a multimedia software company bolstered its media editing suite for 360-video creation

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

Advertising september 23, 2016

Buy Movie Tickets Directly From Your Facebook Profile

The new feature is part of a campaign from Fandango to further imbed social media into the ticket vendor's digital presence

Asia september 23, 2016

Co-Working Space Brings The Calming Atmosphere Of Nature Indoors

An architectural firm in China has designed a new type of shared office that prioritizes the natural environment

Retail september 23, 2016

Live Beacon Simplifies Cloud Sharing For Businesses

The battery-powered device and smartphone app allow anyone to send location-specific content without the hassle of code or hardware

No search results found.