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Universal Everything imagines the future of human-machine interaction

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Will we one day control our environment with dance moves?

two dancers stretching a 3D form Universal Everything/Vimeo

We’re not entirely certain what’s going on in Universal Everything’s latest video, but we know one thing for sure: It’s hard to look away. The British design studio, known for its mind-bending computer generated imagery, has toyed around with illustrating architectural forms in the past, and in its recent video, called “Smart Matter”, it goes even more abstract.

Watch as two dancers manipulate a shape-shifting white box with simple commands and gestures. The object stretches, shrinks, and bends in reaction to human intent, like a touchscreen that’s been given three-dimensional form. Universal Everything says it’s a meditation on the future of human-machine interaction—an abstract vision of a time when we’ll control our environments with dance-like gestures instead of pokes, taps, and swipes on a glassy screen.

In some ways, Smart Matter isn’t so far from research that’s already being done around manipulating physical matter to react to human interaction. We’re still a ways out from making our interfaces stretch and bend like a glob of putty, but in the meantime, it’s certainly mesmerizing to watch.