During the workshop, I read up on A-Frame, a "web framework for building virtual reality experiences" released a few months ago by Mozilla, and started to put together a visualisation based on Swisstopo and OASI data (details here).
The basic idea as proposed at the workshop on Tuesday, was to experiment with the way we understand and form memories of abstract shapes, such as the ones formed from 3D data visualisations. I would like to explore an environment and datasets in virtual reality, while simultaneously holding a printed model of the data in my hand.
This is similar to the way the plaster version of The Birth of Venus at the Uffizi gallery in Florence allows not only visually impaired persons to appreciate the artwork, but also gives an altogether different perspective on the work through the combined feedback of visual and tactile senses.
A few hours of tinkering with custom entities, making good use of the A-Frame scene explorer:
... resulted in this initial visualisation of the "shape" of traffic (blue), noise levels (green) and temperature (yellow):
... which can be exported to STL for 3D printing in programs like Ultimaker Cura:
... the physical datasphere then looks like this (thank you Fab Lab Lugano and Fab Lab Bern for support!):
You can preview the piece, clicking on the goggles at the bottom right to enable VR mode: D E M O
Still plenty to do:
- make it work on mobile headsets
- navigate between environments using gaze tracking
- document all the data sources properly (links, licenses), add open data badges
- research/ get more feedback on the idea, and document it