Did you ever wondered what the Big Data Hype means to us in reality? Information and communication technology, advanced network bandwidth and intelligent data analysis and prognosis enable fantastic insights into our modern society. No matter if you are collecting data within urban areas, such as the different ways Pizza delivery is taking in Manhattan on a Friday afternoon or analyzing the crop in large agricultural facilities. Within the book The Human Face of Big Data, the authors Rick Smolan and Jennifer Erwitt present the human and society dimension of this new hype on analysing and prognosis of all kind of information.
The Human Face of Big Data captures, in glorious photographs and moving essays, an extraordinary revolution sweeping, almost invisibly, through business, academia, government, healthcare, and everyday life. It’s already enabling us to provide a healthier life for our children. To provide our seniors with independence while keeping them safe. To help us conserve precious resources like water and energy. To alert us to tiny changes in our health, weeks or years before we develop a life-threatening illness. To peer into our own individual genetic makeup. To create new forms of life. And soon, as many predict, to re-engineer our own species. And we’ve barely scratched the surface . . .
Watch this amazingly cool pole climbing robot, that is able to create urban graffity art taggings on public poles. The climbing robot is drawing while climbing up and down the pole. AKIRA, the author of the video who studied computer science, art and cultural studies at International Christian University Tokyo, calls his projects ‘experiments in urban intervention’, which means to tactically hack into your urban environments to create urban art. At the moment AKIRA is working as a freelance coder, engineer and artist in Tokyo. You can find more of his fantastic work on his site Ampontang.com.
electree+, a recent Kickstarter project, plans to build a really stylish solar bonsai tree for your home or office table, that can charge your smart mobile devices. It’s tiny solar leaves collect the power of the sun and directly route it into your iPhone. The electree+ harvests solar energy through 27 high-quality amorphous-silicon square solar panels, each ~3.7″ wide. Its branches extend vertically to an apex of ~16″ high. Energy is stored in a 14,000mAh internal battery capable of recharging an iPhone5 over nine times, a Galaxy S3 ~seven times, or an iPad2 twice without light exposure
Part sculpture, part appliance, the electree+ challenges preconceptions about the role of artwork by dissolving the barrier between aesthetic and pragmatic.
At this years Ars Electronica technology art festival (Klangwolke), the audience enjoyed the performance of a Quadcopter Swarm, consisting of 50! Quadcopters (AscTec Hummingbirds) synchronized together to fly and form shapes like one single organism, which in fact is a world record. The quadcopters were equipped with led lights in different colors to perform ambient light effects during the motion. The so called ‘Cloud in the Web’ performance was programmed by the Ars Electronica Futurelab and Ascending Technologies GmbH. The firmware of the standard AscTec Hummingbird Quadcopters was modified slightly to enable this synchronized art performance.
Connecting Light is a sensor networked, digital art installation along Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site. The Connecting Light installation consists of hundreds of large-scale, light-filled balloons transmitting colors from one-to-another, creating a communication network spanning over seventy miles. Visitors are invited to send messages to this sensor networked light balloon chain along the wall. The installation is open to the public from Friday, August 31st to Saturday, September 1st.
This year’s Ars Electronica Festival ‘THE BIG PICTURE – New Concepts for a New World’ presents digital and electronic art projects related to new concepts for understanding the big picture of our world and society. The festival takes place in Linz, Austria from 30.August to 3.September 2012. While waiting for these most interesting art installations, watch the recent Ars Electronica 2012 festival trailer:
Five recent graduates, Arthur Bayard, Félicien Daros, Guillaume Dadaglio, Vincent Glaize and Thomas Nivet, of a French visual-art school present in Terraforma science fiction short story of a transformation of Mars into an Earth like paradise. Thomas Nivet, one of the creators, explains that Terraform tells the story of the planet Mars, being terraformed. In order to achieve such an incredible artwork, they successfully mixed live-action footage and CGI.
Here is another nice example for a visual Internet map by Ruslan Enikeev, who visualizes the Internet nodes of different countries and regions as galaxies of stars. The distance between these stars, model a bi-dimensional presentation of links between websites on the Internet. Every site is a circle on the map, and its size is determined by website traffic, the larger the amount of traffic, the bigger the circle. The Internet map is a non-commercial project. Its main goal is to let the people see beauty of the Internet:
Another really famous visualization of the Internet’s backbone structure was created by Stephen G. Eick from Bell Laboratories in 1993:
The arc map displays a 3D network structure as arcs curving smoothly above a flat map of the world. The data being visualized is Internet traffic flows between fifty countries, as measured by the NSFNET backbone in 1993. The colour, thickness and height of the arcs is used to encode the traffic statistics for particular inter-country links. The arcs are also partially translucent so as not to completely obscure lines at the back of the map, while their height above the base map is in relation to total volume of traffic flowing over a link. This has the effect of making the most important (high traffic) links, the highest and therefore most visually prominent on the map. The user has considerable interactive control over the arc map, for example the arc height scaling and translucency can be varied. The map can also be rotated and scaled, so that the user can view it from any angle.
One really cool example by Felix Heinen, it was his final year work in information design, shows the the variety and attitudes of members from an internet community like Facebook. In a first visualization he shows the functions each member uses as well as additional demographic information. The second visualization shows a geographic orientation where the members of a community are located worldwide:
The book ‘Visual Complexity’ by Manuel Lima combines design and complexity to explain the art of information and knowledge extraction out of graphical visualizations. Visual Complexity presents one hundred of the most interesting examples of information-visualization by the field’s leading practitioners. Many popular examples try to visualize Internet or social graph related aspecs, such as traffic, site links or even social connection between a huge amount of nodes.
Manuel’s Web site Visual Complexity shows hundreds of different examples for large scale data visualizations, such as social graphs, nike running tracks, research networks, technology connections, wikipedia edits during global crisis and incredibly more:
Look at this amazing chess set which was made using vintage Russian Nixie tubes. The tubes are illuminated without visible wires; they glow when at rest on the gameboard surface. Some detail shots showing the internal PCBs are available here, and announcement of plans for a kit version here. Kudos to Tony of Lasermad for producing what, IMHO, is quite clearly a masterpiece. [via Hack a Day]
Video artist Blair Neal created the Crayolascope, a fantastic 3D depth display out of a dozen hacked Crayola Glow Books. He used an Arduino Mega which controls the display and the user can adjust the speed of the pre-drawn animation or scrub through the frames. The unconventional display was exhibited at The New York Hall of Science (home of World Maker Faire New York) as part of the animation exhibit and Balir says that it’s a big hit with kids. He also has a few plans for the next version:
I’d like to play with more powerful lighting and more full edge lighting, as well as solve the issue of internal reflectivity between panels degrading the quality of the “image”. Once the animation goes in about 14-18 frames, it becomes very difficult to see from one side unless it is in a very dark space. I would love to get it much deeper than that, or at least make a finer Z-space resolution.