This electromagnetic interface (called ZeroN) allows people to place objects in 3-d space, and the interface can remember where things have been placed in the past (a sort of version control).
Researcher Jinha Lee:
Originally Posted by lee
With this functionality, ZeroN can be adopted in many applications: animation prototyping, physics simulation/education, and 3-D design studios, etc. Many of the control that users had to have with mouse and a screen can be tangible and more intuitive.
This reminded me of the rant by UX specialist Bret Victor about how we are tactile creatures and we work best with tactile feedback when manipulating things. This ZeroN could be a start in that direction.
It actually reminds me of the work of a finnish architectural theorist Juhani Pallasmaa. He writes a lot a about tactile architecture and modern trend to primarily focus on vision. I quick read if you're interested: http://iris.nyit.edu/~rcody/Thesis/R...and%20Time.pdf
Do you know of any other written work by Bret Victor? His website is rather difficult to navigate for a UX Specialist.