Back in the good old days, having a team collaborate on a group project translated into people huddling over a bunch of papers on the meeting desk where people would be free to provide inputs via doodles and gestures or silly drawings that served as rough drafts. In the computer era, all that translated to everyone sending out a lot of emails and PowerPoint presentation but people still pretty much huddled over hand drawn sketches to get the actual work done. We guess people working in graphics-intensive industries like animation, architecture and generally any company that deems drawing flowcharts as an essential part of their job were just waiting for someone to come up with an iPad app that would allow them to work together on group projects where virtual 3D doodles would replace the old pen and paper ones.
And while we’re hoping that these would also come paired with a holographic projector that could beam a 3D picture right on top of a table and anyone could touch and move it to provide their input, a team from MIT Media Lab thought it would be better if they came up with an app that let users interact on projects while working on their separate iPads. The experimental design is called T(ether) and was created by designers Ken Perlin, Hiroshi Ishii, Dávid Lakatosand and Matthew Blackshaw, who claim that the collaborative display interface would make spatial expression more intuitive than drawing exemplary doodles on a paper.
The app basically lets users use augmented reality and a special sensor-fitted glove to share virtual space and manipulate virtual 3D objects with their hand together. Users can zoom, pinch, expand and do a heck lot of other things to virtual designs with gestures alone and would also allow others to essentially manipulate objects in the shared space the same way making it a less time consuming affair to “work together.” The natural application is one step short of a team standing in front of an enormous touchscreen display wall and creating 3D virtual objects together but it’s a good start for creative people who just can’t seem to get any work done without bringing their iPads to work anymore!