Nothing but good can come out of a project that includes a bunch of researchers in a small room and finger probes. Especially when they start toying with the visible aether and our ability to touch it.

That’s exactly what a group from the Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) has done. They’ve created a new way to interact with 3D data. They’re calling it the i3Space and it’s not your typical 2 year-old touch tech. They actually give you the ability to touch a 3-dimensional holographic image.

Howdo they do it? As you’ll see in the video, you’re nubs are represented on a screen as two spheres… spheres of 3D bending power, lessened only by the ridiculous wires coming out of your fingertips and the array of camera that surround you.

The i3Space recognizes the movement of fingers and controls a tactile sense and a kinesthetic sense (resistance) in real time in accordance with the movement to offer a feeling of touching a 3D image.

3D Design Applications for i3Space

Besides this type of device/environment being used for psychological therapy on the 3D challenged, there are obvious applications for creating designs with this tech. However, side-step those fancy ideas for a moment and think of the inspection and testing aspects of a design and how this could be used in those areas. Computational analysis can currently take place while a design is being developed. Having the design in the physical environment, adapting it as the results are appearing around you is just one more way we could use adaptive touch-enabled environment tech. Let’s just hope they find a way to ditch the finger wires and camera stands.

Which will we see first? Testing designs or creating designs with this holographic 3D touch?

via DVICE and DigInfo


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.