Nowadays, when we think about research into 3D interfaces, it’s usually referring to work done on trying to get real objects to display in 3D in a computer. But check out this cool project, called Relief, created by MIT students to read digital relief data and create a physical 3D model. It uses an array of 120 motorized with a malleable surface covering them. The pins heights are set based on relief data, and then surface is deformed accordingly. An image of terrain or other types of media can then be projected onto the surface to enhance the visualization.