Dynamic ShapeShift display lets you touch objects in virtual reality

In virtual reality systems, tactile feedback is still an Achilles' heel, which greatly reduces the positive perception of games. To create realistic VR experiences, Stanford University engineers recently developed a new ShapeShift tool.

ShapeShift is a physical 3D display that changes shape to create relief images of various objects. It is based on an array of 288 square rods with a side of 7 mm, which move independently of each other up or down at an arbitrary distance. Thanks to this, the display can display raised, three-dimensional patterns that a person can clearly distinguish when touched.

The authors of the development equipped it with wheels so that the display could move within a certain area and synchronize with what is happening in virtual reality, depicting different objects. The design is easily scalable, while the screen resolution automatically grows and it gets the ability to depict objects with small details. But, alas, still tied to some foundation - you can build a room in which all walls, floor and ceiling will be equipped with similar displays, but, for example, it will not work to recreate a floating object.

The ShapeShift concept also implies the creation of large dynamic architectural forms, when the entire playing space becomes mobile. For example, the system will be able to build steps along which the player can actually climb to the next floor, and it will be necessary to knock out the door with his shoulder with real effort. Or create an imitation of wiggling on the waves - if you adapt the mechanism to the size of the average user, the game dev opens up tremendous opportunities for creativity.