The Fiber Cloud, MIT Mobile Experience Lab

The Fiber Cloud is an organic sculptural landmark that responds to human interaction and expresses context awareness using hundreds of sensors and over 15,000 individually addressable optical fibers. Constructed of carbon glass, spanning over four meters, and containing more than 65 kilometers of fiber optics, the Cloud encourages visitors to touch and interact with information in new ways, manifesting emotions and behavior through sound and a dichotomy of luminescence and darkness.

Design Process

As part of the Redesigning Fashion Trade Shows project with Pitti Uomo, the MIT Mobile Experience Lab created an organic sculptural landmark, the Cloud, to give trade show visitors a new way to experience and interact with information. The Cloud serves as an emotional counterpart to the pragmatic mobile phone application, serving as a memorable object for people to discuss and react to.

Located in downtown Florence, Italy, the Cloud engages visitors visually with its organic shape and individually addressable optic fibers. The sculpture also appeals to tactile senses and people brush their hands across the fibers, which can visually react to the stimulus. Finally, the sculpture also uses sound to complete the sensory experience.

The cloud is capable of detecting presence and engaging with users through its multi-fiber touch interface. Tactile engagement with the individual fibers provokes a variety of responses from the cloud, ranging from ambient lighting to animation and sound. The cloud's open-source development platform encourages users to contribute to a growing library of creative interactions that will stretch the limits of the imagination.

Learn more at