Named Transform, the table is divided into three separate surfaces, where more than 1,000 small squares attached to individual motors that are hidden from view.
When a user passes their hand across the surface, the individual squares rise up in sequence and create a ripple effect.
The table can also create abstract shapes on its own, and transfer objects across the surface, thanks to a series of pre-programmed animation sequences.
Transform was created by Daniel Leithinger and Sean Follmer and overseen by their professor Hiroshi Ishii.
"A pixel is intangible," Ishii told Dezeen. "You can only use it through mediating and remote control, like a mouse or a touchscreen. We decided to physically embody computation and information."
According to the team, the concept is a look at how furniture could evolve in future. It forms part of the MIT Tangible Media Group's Radical Atoms project, which explores human interaction with materials that are reconfigurable by computer.
"We don't want the furniture to become more important than the motion. We want to make it feel like it's a unified design and they are not separate," said Amit Zoran, one of the product designers on the project.
Transform changes shape by a series of sensors that detect movement above the surface. However, the table could change according to the emotions of people around it, and create a melody to soothe those around the table, said its creators.
"Imagine, this is equivalent of the invention of a new medium. Painting, plastic, and computer graphics. It has infinite possibilities," said Ishii.
The project was part of Lexus Design Amazing exhibition, which premiered in Milan last week.
- Matthew Plummer-Fernandez to present "pe…rsonalised avatars for your vehicle"
- Scribble's colour-matching pen can write… in millions of tones
- ProtoHouse by Softkill Design
- Multithread by Clemens Weisshaar and Ree…d Kram
- Interactive soft toys let babies post to… Facebook
- Instrumented Bodies by Joseph Malloch an…d Ian Hattwick
- "In the future we might print not only b…uildings, but entire urban sections"
- The Sugar Lab by Kyle and Liz von Hassel…n
- Olivier van Herpt 3D-prints functional c…eramic objects
Sign up for a daily roundup
of all our stories