At the Conference on Human Factors in Computing System, currently happening in Canada, University College London and Microsoft Researchers showcased their latest innovation — a modular hardware platform called SurfaceConstellations. The crazy idea could easily find a place in some science fiction movie.
With the help of SurfaceConstellations, multiple mobile devices can be connected to get a multi-monitor experience similar to what we have on PCs, in fact, even better. With the aid of ongoing developments, reconfigurable cross-device setups can be created for mobile devices.
The structure that holds the tablets together is created using 3D-printed brackets and joint connections that can be arranged according to the requirements. The researchers are also working on a technique where devices can recognize each other through capacitive links.
But Microsoft hasn’t kept their innovations to themselves. Everything including a comprehensive library of 3D print designs of the brackets and joints, strategies for designing setups, and web-based tool for creating new SurfaceConstellation setups has been open sourced.
The name might suggest, but the platform is not confined to Surface branded devices. You can use an iPad, smartphone, or maybe a combination of devices as all the parts can be customized and 3D printed.
You can read more about SurfaceConstellations the paper published by the researchers which they present at the ACM CHI 2018.