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ZeroN: A Levitating Orb Gestural Interface Straight Out Of Sci-Fi

Pray, what magic of the gods is this?

Levitation, it’s one of those superhero abilities that shamans and Yogic masters like to show off about, but the skeptical among us must shake our head and say “Impossible!”. But sometimes it pays to be skeptical about your own skepticism, because science has shown that objects can actually levitate using something called “quantum levitation”. It’s has something to do with superconductivity.

Once someone starts the levitated ball floating then everyone wants a piece, and so a research assistant at the MIT Media Lab, Jinha Lee, with the help of Rehmi Post and Hiroshi Ishii, has created a prototype levitational interface called ZeroN (above). It uses computer-controlled magnetic levitation (read witchcraft) to allow an interactive element, an orb, to float in the air and be moved so “people and computers can physically interact with one another in 3D space”.

You can move the element both digital and physically using a computer or your hand, even at the same time, and it even “remembers”—draw a path with it using your hand and it’ll repeat it once your hand moves away, creating a physical record of a user’s interaction. And, if all that wasn’t enough to make you want to type “Whoah!” in the comments, it can also act as a camera for a 3D model scene.

[via PSFK]