Remember SLAP widgets
? It was a project at RWTH Aachen University's Media Computing Group, trying to add some tactile controls to touch-sensitive displays. Now that concept is back and better than ever with Madgets, magnetic widgets crafted by Malte Weiß and Jan Borchers. Madgets start with the same idea as SLAP widgets, but take it to another level thanks to an array of electromagnets inserted behind the touchscreen. Reflective markers are detected in IR to tell the table the location and state of a physical dial or pressed button, while the array of electromagnets can cause those buttons to be popped back up or actually move that dial across the multitouch surface. Inductive power transfer is even possible, with one Madget offering a red warning LED powered through the surface. It's mighty impressive stuff and we think you won't want to miss the video embedded after the break.
[Thanks, Fabian Hemmert