The 38th International Conference And Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques

MoleBot: Mole in a Table

West Building, Ballroom B

Many previous explorations of shape display (Feelex, Pop Up!, Lumen, and Relief) adopted the principle of the pinscreen and tried to develop a rigid yet flexible surface that renders dynamic three-dimensional forms in the real world. These shape displays involve hundreds of pins separately actuated by an elaborate mechanism. The MoleBot combines higher actuation speed, greater resolution, and smaller pixel size than demonstrated in previous projects, plus enhanced physical interactivity with objects on the table surface. It is based on a new shape-display method: a two-dimensional translating cam (mole cam), 15,000 closely packed hexagonal pins equivalent to cam followers, and a layer of spandex between the mole cam and the pins to reduce friction.

The MoleBot can interact with physical objects in two ways. The force from the mole cam can push objects or pull something sensitive to magnetism with a neodymium magnet. It could be a new game interface, in which people build a small world on a table by replacing hexagonal pixels with different types of small props and enjoy playful physical interactions between the MoleBot and objects in the real world.

Narae Lee
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

Ju-Whan Kim
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

Jungsoo Lee
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

Myeongsoo Shin
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

Woohun Lee
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology