By David Wisniowski

Tangible Media Group, the MIT media lab, recently promoted its dynamic shape display ‘inFORM’. This device is the coolest piece of technology that has been unveiled by the company and allows users to interact with physical objects by means of reaching through their computer screens. Below is a video which illustrates inFORM’s capabilities and it’s definitely worth the watch.

Tangible Media Group describes the interface as a “Dynamic Shape Display that can render 3D content physically, so users can interact with digital information in a tangible way. inFORM can also interact with the physical world around it, for example moving objects on the table’s surface. Remote participants in a video conference can be displayed physically, allowing for a strong sense of presence and the ability to interact physically at a distance.” This state of the art tech has some amazing applications and is truly mind blowing.


The group has some plans for inform which could be of use to the market industry. First and foremost it should be stated that I personally believe this type of technology could be applied to surveys with a fair reception. As this type of technology becomes further and further advanced, I think it’s not too far of a stretch to see how this could be implemented in focus groups, etc. But, that’s just my opinion.

Tangible Media group says that they are looking into different applications for inFROM. “We are currently exploring a number of application domains for the inFORM shape display. One area we are working on is Geospatial data, such as maps, GIS, terrain models and architectural models. Urban planners and Architects can view 3D designs physically and better understand, share and discuss their designs. We are collaborating with the urban planners in the Changing Places group at MIT on this ( In addition, inFORM would allow 3D Modelers and Designers to prototype their 3D designs physically without 3D printing (at a low resolution). Finally, cross sections through Volumetric Data such as medical imaging CT scans can be viewed in 3D physically and interacted with. We would like to explore medical or surgical simulations. We are also very intrigued by the possibilities of remotely manipulating objects on the table.” These types of applications could be easily applied to target marketing research is new areas with three dimensional views of a physical space. I think that as the technology becomes more intricate, one could even simulate the amount of people who would walk into a business’s location using statistical modeling.


So, there are many budding opportunities to use this type of innovate technology within the market research industry. Aside from that, as I mentioned before, this is truly mind-blowing. I’m excited to see where inform will take not only the market industry, but the technological movement as a whole.