How can we show data about socially important issues in a different way? In this project, we will look at ways for representing data (for instance about the ongoing extinction of species which threatens biodiversity), specifically at data physicalization.
With phyzicalisation, data moves off the screen, with 3D physical shape and materiality, so we can touch it, hold it in our hands, feel it – or can navigate the data by walking around it. And what if it could move and change shape to reflect updates and in response to user interactions?
Initially emerging from the arts, ‘data physicalization’ is increasingly investigated in Information Visualisation and HCI, pushed by recent advances in digital fabrication and mechanical actuation. When designing data physicalization it is important to establish a relation of the (digital) data with the properties of the used material, where choice of the material influences meaning and experience. So far, most work in this area has created static representations – but for dynamic data series and interactive feedback to user queries, we need flexible, shape-changing or moving representations. We here aim to develop a physicalization, that users can actively explore and query and that reacts to input.
In this project, we will work in small groups (mixing technical and design students) to develop dynamic data physicalizations, e.g. using motor-based actuation for shape-change. Next to a literature research we’ll have a look at existing projects. After the introductory phase, students will investigate options for creating dynamic physicalizations, develop ideas/concepts and prototype some of them. Your final task is to design and implement one of our ideas, based on data sources we will provide for this project. We will present the result at the Summaery.
Students from the different degree programs will have different foci of work in this project:
Bachelor MI and CS&M / CS4DM Master students will focus on technical aspects, in particular actuation technologies and control, the software side of data query/interaction, and potentially, detection of user input.
Product Design / MediaArchitecture students will engage in creative-artistic conceptualization and focus on physical-material design and construction, and will collaborate on designing the user interaction.
The project collaborates with the ‘Tangible Data’ project, aimed at HCI Master students, who will contribute to the design process and will run a user study of the design and development outcome.