Coffee tables are rarely very interactive, and unless there’s something very interesting sitting on top of them, aren’t usually the focal point of a room either. This would all change if you owned a Zen Table, though.
The brainchild of Simon Hallam, a software developer whose previous credits include working for Rare back in the late 80s to recently developing the award-winning Wik: Fable of Souls for the Xbox, the Zen Table sees art and technology converge.
It takes its name from Japanese zen gardens, where intricate patterns are raked into sand, a style replicated here on the table top. But instead of a single design, the Zen Table can draw in the sand in real-time, almost like a robotic Etch-a-Sketch.
Rather than stop at a few standard designs, the Zen Table encourages owners to experiment and come up with their own patterns, and by connecting a PC or by using an SD card, new patterns and commands can be installed. An iPhone and Android app can communicate with the table via a 3G modem, and SMS messages allow interaction with the table no matter where you are.
The table itself is constructed from renewable bamboo, tempered glass and has internal lighting. There are two versions currently being made, a large coffee table and a smaller desktop version, however Mr. Hallam says it can “scale to virtually any size”, leaving us imagining entire floors magically altering before our eyes.
The Zen Table has just been funded via Kickstarter, and the videos included with the pitch really highlight the table’s mesmerizing effect.