Graspable Data

Weight-Shifting Mobiles

A moving center of gravity.
This mobile phone

augments digital content with the physical sensation of a responsive, tactile display. Thanks to a moving weight inside the prototype, the device can reposition its mass, shifting its center of gravity in response to a variety of cues.

For example, dragging and dropping can be accompanied by the physical sensation of following the dragged object via synchronized movement of the device’s center of gravity. Weight shifting also adds a second dimension, or meta-layer, to information displays: Progress through a playlist, for example. An actuated center of weight may be particularly helpful during mobile navigation, conveying walking directions intuitively and non-visually, allowing users to navigate safely without needing to look at their screen.

Check out my talk at TEDxBerlin to learn more about this project.