E. Rehmi Post Physicist, PhD

Selected Projects (1995—2014)

Publications, Contact details, About,

ZeroN levitated interaction element


The dream of liberating physical matter from gravity has existed for millennia. It is an idea found in mythology, sought after by alchemists, and visualized in science fiction. In this work, we have created a space that gives a glimpse into the possibilities of such a future where materials are free from gravitational constraints by blending the physical and digital worlds.

ZeroN is a new tangible interaction element that can be levitated and moved freely by computer in three dimensions. Both the computer and the user can move ZeroN simultaneously, allowing humans and computers to physically interact with one another in space. Users are invited to place or move the ZeroN just as they can place any other objects on surfaces.

Once levitated, ZeroN's behavior can be digitally programmed. For example, users can place the sun above physical objects to cast digital shadows, or place a planet that will start revolving based on simulated physical conditions.

ZeroN can also record the user's motion, allowing it to be preserved and played back indefinitely. When a user moves and releases ZeroN, it continues to float and starts to move along the same path, creating a unique, tangible record of the user's physical presence and motion.

To realize this vision, we developed a magnetic control system that can levitate and actuate a permanent magnet in a pre-defined 3D volume. This is combined with an optical tracking and display system that projects images on the levitating object. Conventional levitation only enables levitating an object at one point. In the ZeroN Project, users can move a levitated object to anywhere in a predefined 3D space and leave it there without dropping it because the system constantly readjusts both magnetically and mechanically.


WIRED UK Magazine: Interface floating in space
FastCodesign: MIT Creates Amazing UI From Levitating Orbs
ACM TechNews
GIZMODO: Magnetically Levitating Balls Could Be the Future of Computer Interfaces
Engadget: ZeroN slips surly bonds, re-runs your 3D gestures in mid-air
MIT Video : ZeroN
MIT Media Lab Labcast: ZeroN
Designboom: MIT media lab: zeroN
Blaze: your eyes aren’t fooling you- this ball is levitating.
The Verge: ZeroN magnetic levitation system can playback movements in space.
Educatedearth.net: ZeroN - MIT's Revolutionary Computer Interface
Popsci: MIT's Latest User Interface Employs Gravity-Defying, Levitating Metal Orbs
Gizmag: ZeroN system holds a ball wherever you place it, in mid-air
International Business Times
The Technology Cafe:
Spiegel Online: Mensch-Maschine-SchnittstelleInteragieren über schwebende Kugel
Hungary: index.hu (hungarian news portal)
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