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Fluidized Bed Interface - 21st Century Sandbox

A fluidized bed just may be one of the most innovative inventions ever created. A bed of sand mixed with a pump of air creates a phenomenon so unique, you would think it was CGI. Yasushi Matoba's research with fluidized bed's has created unique experiences in virtual and augmented reality.

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Development of an "Fluidized Bed Interface" Using the Fluidized Bed Phenomenon to Liquefy Granular Material

2017 Disruptive Challenger, Yasushi Matoba

By introducing a pressurized fluid to a container filled with a particulate substance, the substance can be liquefied. This phenomenon is called a “fluidized bed" and has been used in many industrial fields for things such as incinerators, but has not been used in interface applications that humans directly get involved with. For example, by using sand as the powder/granular material and air as the fluid, and then projecting an image on the surface of the sand, you can create something that can walk on or swim through the sand at the flip of a switch. We study how to use various combinations of particulate and liquid substances to develop new, never-before-experienced interfaces that allow free control of solid and liquid phases.
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