University of Southern California


Co.Design: “A Mind-Blowing UI That Could Finally Make Group Work Intuitive”

A Mind-Blowing UI That Could Finally Make Group Work Intuitive

This experimental app from the MIT Media Lab combines gestural interfaces, augmented reality, collaborative workspaces, and general sci-fi amazingness.
We’ve seen "magic-window" augmented reality interfaces, Minority Report-style gestural interfaces, and computer-vision-powered collaborative display interfaces. But what about an iPad app that combines all three? That would be T(ether), an experimental design from the MIT Media Lab.
Creators Matthew Blackshaw, Dávid Lakatos, Hiroshi Ishii, and Ken Perlin call T(ether) "a tool for spatial expression" that "acts as a window affording users a perspective view of three-dimensional data through tracking of head position and orientation." In English, that means you can hold the iPad up with one hand to reveal a shared virtual space that you can manipulate with the other hand using a special glove. You can draw 3-D shapes, rotate, pinch, zoom, and spin them as if they’re real–but unlike most augmented reality apps, which silo the "world" into the screen of a single user, T(ether)’s is collaborative: Two people peering through their iPads at a grid of virtual cubes can both reach in independently and fiddle with them at the same time. Just like in real life.

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