Phixels Luke Vink, Artem Dementyev, Hiroshi Ishii

The common computer today leverages the patterning of an element (Pixels) to produce a rich visual feedback system for interactions with computational data. The pixel is extremely versatile and finds its way into a wide variety of computer systems and forms as a result.
A Phixel is a single element that embeds localized actuation, sensing and control to move itself along a given path. When combined, Phixels enable not just the representation of data, but also the bidirectional physical interaction with that data. Arranged in a three dimensional grid, full volumetric data can be manipulated by hand enabling full volumetric physical display and interaction with landscapes, physical systems, telecommunication and computer aided design. Because Phixels can talk to each other, they can be arranged in any given pathway expanding their application to a variety of forms such as in a musical instrument, architectural space or for artistic expression.
Phixels are an initial step towards a vision to have single elements capable of transforming physical properties in response to physical interaction, without the need for an external system for actuation.