What you see above is a ‘Dynamic Shape Display’ developed by a team at MIT that uses a Kinect sensor. That input is then translated onto a grid of pins attached to actuators and controlled by a computer.
inFORM is a Dynamic Shape Display that can render 3D content physically, so users can interact with digital information in a tangible way.
The team envisions it being used for Geospatial data, urban planning, architecture and design. If the resolution of pins increases and this thing gets into the hands of the public, it could make long-distance relationships a little more interesting.