Video: Universal Mind sets iPad table for Webby award


The iPad table by Universal Mind is a platform for device-to-device communication. Courtesy Universal Mind

You don’t need to imagine a table surface made of iPads. The team at Universal Mind already has invented a real one.

The firm's iPad table is 15 separate regular iOS6 iPads functioning as one physical surface, allowing users to toss content across the table surface.

The tablet tapestry was created by a local team at Universal Mind, a Colorado based global digital solutions agency with its Midwest location in Grand Rapids, at 38 West Fulton St.

The new tablet table recently won the 2013 Webby Award People’s Voice for Experimental and Innovation Technology, said Joe Johnston, Universal Mind’s director of research and development.

In the beginning, the team had to design what the physical table would be like, as well as how the custom power cables would need to be structured, he said.

“Initially, we began to think about what we could demonstrate with some of our R&D concepts around device-to-device communication with an experience that we could show at conferences and trade shows,” he said.

“The R&D team had built a few demos, but we really thought we could build something that was even more immersive for these kinds of events. The original idea — while at a conference and then sketched out while on a plane.”

Johnston said the team never created the iPad table with the goal of making it a product, but that hasn’t stopped the flood of interest he’s received from businesses interested in getting one.

This has led to his team discussing how to use the iPad table as a platform for retail, gaming, education and enterprise.

“From a marketing perspective, our main goal with the iPad table is still to innovate on device-to-device communication and build experiences that capitalize on that,” he said. “We're not looking to build an entire business around this one concept, but we have been very surprised at the amount of interest we have received.”

The techniques his team is leveraging will help transform future mobile experiences with device-to-device communication, Johnston said.

In the future, there will be few places in the business world not touched by this kind of technology, he said.

“Companies can contact us if they are interested in using the table for an event or purchasing a table for themselves,” he said. “Almost every instance will have custom content associated with it, so we don't have a set price as it will be different in each instance.”

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