Is it just me, or does it feel like the “future” we all saw in TV shows and movies is getting closer and closer to reality? A team of researchers at MIT created a small atmosphere, the ZeroN, where you can interact with objects floating in your own space. This could be the potential birth of a live user interface where we can touch, instruct, and play with objects and images in the air.
“Our body and minds have developed great capacities for understand and manipulating physical environments,” said researcher Jihna Lee said in a video about the ZeroN. “The long-term vision is to embed computation and physical materials that can directly interact with us. In this way, we seek to redefine the relationships humans have with materials, space and digital information.”
Lee, who researches with MIT’s Tangible Media Group, created the ZeroN, a small, unenclosed space that uses electromagnets to suspend a ball in mid-air. The ball (and the space holding it) can remember a human’s touch and mimic the movement in space. The ball can also move along per-programmed paths that are fed to the magnet and the machine holding the magnet using software.
“Even if the user moves the ZeroN to a different position, the system can re-stabilize and keep the ZeroN suspended,” said Lee.
It can also act as a camera, recording 3D objects in its space, as well as work with a light source, showing how shadows would exist in real life on small models.
The magnet moves the ball, pulling and repelling it dependent on where it is commanded to go. The whole system exists on an arm that moves the magnet up and down and side by side, increasing the distance able to be traveled. The researchers used a “hall sensor,” which is constantly checking the ball’s position to record its movements.
The design industry could benefit from the technology, being able to build and interact with 3D models that can move and be manipulated without having to program it first into a computer. And as FastCo.Design points out, it could lead to even cooler inventions such as floating holograms that we can wrap around our arms and move in mid-air like Ironman.
In engineering, mathematics, physics, meteorology and computer science, multiscale modeling is the field of solving physical problems which have important features at multiple scales, particularly multiple spatial and(or) temporal scales. Important problems include scale linking (Baeurle 2009, de Pablo 2011, Knizhnik 2002, Adamson 2007). Horstemeyer 2009 presented historical review of the different disciplines (solid mechanics, numerical methods, mathematics, physics, and materials science) for solid materials related to multiscale materials modeling.
Multiscale modeling in physics is aimed to calculation of material properties or system behavior on one level using information or models from different levels. On each level particular approaches are used for description of a system. Following levels are usually distinguished: level of quantum mechanical models (information about electrons is included), level of molecular dynamics models (information about individual atoms is included), mesoscale or nano level (information about groups of atoms and molecules is included), level of continuum models, level of device models. Each level addresses a phenomenon over a specific window of length and time. Multiscale modeling is particularly important in integrated computational materials engineering since it allows to predict material properties or system behavior based on knowledge of the atomistic structure and properties of elementary processes.