Radical Atoms Exhibition

Opening WED September 7, 2016, 6:30 PM
THU September 8, 2016 - SUN September 11, 2016, 10 AM - 8 PM
MON September 12, 2016, 10 AM - 6 PM
The exhibition will stay on display in the Ars Electronica Center after the Festival.
Ars Electronica Center
Tangible Media Group MIT Radical Atoms ExhibitionCredit: © 2012 Tangible Media Group / MIT Media Lab

Developed in cooperation with MIT Media Lab Professor Hiroshi Ishii, this exhibition is arrayed along a thematic and chronological axis. It demonstrates how ideas derived from art can lead to new technological concepts. Visionary examples are provided by the work Hiroshi Ishii’s Tangible Media Group was already doing in 1999 in conjunction with their musicBottles. inForm (2013) registers gesticulations and sets actual objects into motion. bioLogic (2015) is a sort of second skin that reacts to movement. The exhibition, which also features projects by Carlo Ratti (IT), Joachim Sauter (DE) and the Ars Electronica Futurelab, will continue to run after the festival at the Ars Electronica Center, where it dovetails nicely with the extensive program of the Digital Art and Science Network, an EU-subsidized alliance that’s attracting more and more prestigious scientific organizations. Artist-in-residence programs have already been conducted with CERN–European Organization for Nuclear Research, the European Southern Observatory and the European Space Agency. The Festival is showcasing works produced in conjunction with these residencies.

This project is presented in the framework of the European Digital Art and Science Network and radco-funded by the Creative Europe program of the European Union.
In cooperation with GREINER GROUP.

“Unless a work inspires people, it doesn’t stick; people never start thinking differently, and they will forget. To inspire people, there must be some profound message, beauty or aesthetics which people find very moving.”

Hiroshi Ishii, director of the MIT Media Lab’s Tangible Media Group, explains his vision of Radical Atoms on our blog.

Active Wood Products

Traditional wood-bending techniques require com- plex steaming equipment, labor-intensive forming processes and a high degree of expertise. In addi- tion, the natural pattern of wood grain and its physi- cal properties make it difficult to curve into complex shapes.


We envision that future wearable technology will move around the human body, and will react to its host and the environment. To proof this concept, we developed Rovables, miniature robots that can move freely on unmodified clothing.


bioLogic is growing living actuators and synthesizing responsive bio-skin in the era where bio is the new interface. Natto bacteria are harvested in a bio lab, assembled by a micron-resolution bio-printing system, and transformed into responsive fashion, a “Second Skin”.


This work introduces layer jamming as an enabling technology for designing deformable, stiffness-tunable, thin sheet interfaces. Interfaces that exhibit tunable stiffness properties can yield dynamic haptic feedback and shape deformation capabilities.


Energy or substance, air is one the most abundant resources on earth. In many mythologies across culture, air brings life to and animate static substance. PneUI explores the dynamic interaction between the air and sheet materials.

Infinite Cube, 2006/2010/2013

Infinite Cube is a spatially concentrated, but at the same time expansive, kinetic installation. The spheres follow a computational narrative that moulds them into a fluid succession of abstract shapes.


Lift-Bit is a modular, digitally reconfigurable furni- ture system that allows a sofa to seamlessly turn into a chair, a chaise longue, a bed, a complete lounge and a myriad of other configurations.


Lines have several interesting characteristics from the perspective of interaction design: abstractness of data representation; a variety of inherent interactions; and constraints as boundaries or borderlines.


inFORM is a shape display that gives physical form to digital information. Motorized pins extend from a tabletop to form a physical sculpture that users can view, touch and deform.


What is it like to sculpt with motion? Topobo is a construction toy with kinetic memory, able to record and playback physical motion. Snap together Passive (static) and Active (robotic) pieces into a creation, and with a press of a button and a flick of the wrist, you can teach your creation how to dance or walk.


SandScape is a tangible interface for designing and understanding landscapes through a variety of computational simulations using sand. Users view these simulations as they are projected on the surface of a sand model that represents the terrain.


musicBottles is an interactive installation for visitors to interact with soundwaves encapsulated in bottles. The installation consists of a set of bottle that encapsulate sounds from Boston, Cambridge and the MIT neighborhood.