Tangible Interactive MAtrix for
real-time computation and
3D Projection Mapping

Ira Winder

The Tactile Matrix, or Tangible Interactive Matrix is a system for an illuminated, machine-readable matrix of objects that performs real-time computation and dynamic projection-mapping. The Tactile Matrix is applied to many research projects to make complex systems intuitive and approachable for a more broad range of stakeholders.  It is most heavily used for MIT CityScope.

Illuminated, tangible-interactive matrices have immediate applications as collaborative computation tools for users who want to leverage matrix-based mathematical modeling techniques within a friendly and accessible environment. The system is designed as an open source kit of both off-the-shelf items (such as Lego) and components that are inexpensively fabricated with standard equipment (such as laser cutters).

The Tactile Matrix is designed to (a) make matrix-based mathematical methods more accessible and intuitive to users who otherwise do not have access to such tools and/or (b) provide an interactive narrative and story-telling device for experts who wish to present or explain matrix-based concepts to non-experts.

Some Applications

The Tactile Matrix as been tried and tested on a range of case studies, including:

The Tactile Matrix was invented during a cold, Boston winter in January, 2014 by Ira Winder, Joshua Fabian, and Grady Sain while working for Changing Places Group in MIT Media Lab. The creators are heavily inspired by the work of Tangible Media Group at MIT Media Lab. The system has since benefited from input, experimentation, and hacking by numerous collaborators at MIT and beyond. Karthik Patanjali in 2015 oversaw the design, development, and manufacturing process of a standardized table module for the Tactile Matrix that is now used for most deployments.