I've spent the morning at Philips Research Labs in Eindhoven, Netherlands, and I've seen some pretty amazing inventions that may not be far away from a shop near you. One of the coolest was these magnetic LED tiles that allow you to build any kind of 2D- or 3D-shaped display by just attaching one to the next. The results, combined with the beauty of the animated colour LEDs behind the diffusing glass, are stunning. The way it works seems like magic.
The display itself gets programmed by just placing an illustration under a camera, which captures the basic structure and animates it in random patterns. Since each tile is intelligent—they know each other's position at any give time—the animation spreads through the tiles seamlessly. Putting the tile together is as easy as that: just place it next to the edge you want and it will stick thanks to very powerful magnets.