• High Five Someone… from 3,000 Miles Away

    What if you could reach out and high five someone from 3,000 miles away?

    You may be able to one day -- if the inFORM Dynamic Shape Display, an interactive imaging display, is brought to market.

    Created by the Tangible Media Group, part of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the inFORM allows a person to create 3D shapes with physical objects .

    According to Sean Follmer, a Ph.D candidate and research assistant with the Tangible Media Group, the team was inspired by the Pinscreen, the seemingly ubiquitous toy with which many of us have used to create hand shapes.

    Follmer said the team wanted to take the interactive experience into the digital sphere: “Instead of just displaying colors like you do on a traditional display, here we can display height.”

    The display accomplishes that dimensionality by capturing hand movements with a Microsoft Kinect sensor and translating them into data. A computer then interprets that data into physical movements by pins on the

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  • We have all seen high-speed police chases on TV. And statistics show that they’re as dangerous as they appear. 360 people are killed each year because of chases, according to a 2010 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

    Now, StarChase, a Virginia-based law enforcement technology company, wants to halt those risky pursuits with a device straight out of a James Bond movie.

    The company’s device is a launchable GPS tracker that is mounted onto the grill of a police car. When a suspect flees in a vehicle, an officer can fire a small sticky GPS tracker onto the suspect’s car.

    “Law enforcement uses this technology in situations where they have a high-risk vehicle,” said Trevor Fischbach, StarChase’s president. “That could be a stolen car, a car that has narcotics in it, it could be a DUI suspect.”

    The GPS module is coated with an adhesive and won’t fall off. The officer then tracks the suspect with mapping software without having to engage in a potentially dangerous

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  • We have all seen beautiful examples of origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, but when was the last time you wore a piece of origami?

    Horatio Yuxin Han wants the answer to be “today.

    Han, a recent graduate of the Pratt Institute of Art and Design, has created Unifold, a pair of origami-like shoes. And unlike origami, folding a Unifold shoe is a 2-minute cinch. Simply cut, fold and wear them outside.

    “The idea started when I first became interested in the shoe industry and was surprised how difficult one shoe was to make,” said Han, 23. He explained that one mass-produced shoe is assembled in 20 steps and requires an assembly line of factory workers.

    Surely there’s an easier, and cheaper, method, he thought.

    After researching traditional shoemaking methods, Han was inspired by the Indian moccasin, which is constructed from three pieces of fabric. Han assigned himself the challenge of updating that idea for modern society and to make it accessible for everyday use. Hence, the

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