Looking to spruce up that nondescript living room table? So are a smattering of folks from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. At this week's SIGGRAPH E-tech event, a team from the entity dropped by to showcase the deadly cute MoleBot table. At its simplest, it's a clever tabletop game designed to entertain folks aged 3 to 103; at the other extreme, it's a radically new way of using Microsoft's Kinect to interact with something that could double as a place to set your supper. Improving on similar projects in the past, this shape-display method uses a two-dimensional translating cam (mole cam), 15,000 closely packed hexagonal pins equivalent to cam followers, and a layer of spandex between the mole cam and the pins to reduce friction.
When we dropped by, the Kinect mode was disabled in favor of using an actual joystick to move the ground below. In theory, one could hover above the table and use hand gestures to move the "mole," shifting to and fro in order to pick up magnetic balls and eventually affix the "tail" onto the kitty. The folks we spoke with seemed to think that there's consumer promise here, as well as potential for daycares, arcades and other locales where entertaining young ones is a priority. Have a peek at a brief demonstration vid just after the break, and yes, you can bet we'll keep you abreast of the whole "on sale" situation.