Dubbed inFORM: Dynamic Physical Affordances and Constraints through Shape and Object Actuation, the table is equipped with 900 individually actuated white polystyrene pins that make up the surface in an array of 30 x 30 pixels.
An overhead projector provides visual guidance of the system, with each pin capable of actuating 100mm and exerting a force of up to 1.08 Newtons each. As the HackADay crew explains, actuation is achieved via push-pull rods that are utilized to maximize the dense pin arrangement – making the display independent of the size of the actuators.
“The actuation is achieved by motorized slide potentiometers grouped in sets of 6 using custom PCBs that are driven by [Atmel] ATMega2560s. This allows for an excellent method of PID feedback right off the actuators themselves,” writes HackADay’s James Hobson.
“There is an excellent image of the entire system [see above] that shows both the scale and complexity of the build. Sadly it does not look like something that could be easily built at home, but hey, we’d love for someone to prove us wrong!”