Shape Ranger is a tabletop exhibit at the National Museum of Mathematics that lets visitors manipulate physical objects to explore shape packing challenges.
Visitors begin by placing plastic shapes onto a multi-touch tabletop display; each shape lights up when placed, and a larger bounding outline instantly surrounds it. As more shapes are placed on the table, the visitor is challenged to fit them into the smallest bounding outline. Visitors can mix and match thousands of combinations of circles, squares, triangles, and pentagons, and can choose from seven different bounding shapes.
The application stores a database of over 100,000 daily and all-time records, which are visualized on a secondary display, challenging visitors to meet or exceed them. The exhibit uses optical tracking technology to update shape positions in real-time and add a tactile interface to an otherwise abstract digital experience.