Hack a Day writes about Interactive Auditory Scatter Plot

Hack a Day writes about Interactive Auditory Scatter Plot

Oct 19, 2010. | By: Eckard Riedenklau

Thanks to the authors of Hack a Day! They posted about the Interactive Auditory Scatter Plot on their blog :

“This setup helps to represent data in a meaningful way to for visually impaired people. It uses a combination of physical objects to represent data clusters, and audio feedback when manipulating those objects. In the video after the break you’ll see that the cubes can orient themselves to represent data clusters. The table top acts as a graphing field, with a textured border as a reference for the user. A camera mounted below the clear surface allows image processing software to calculate the locations for the cubes. Each cube is motorized and contains an Arduino and ZigBee module, listening for positioning information from the computer that is doing the video processing. Once in position, the user can move the cubes, with modulated noise as a measure of how near they are to the heart of each data cluster.

The team plans to conduct further study on the usefulness of this interactive data object. We certainly see potential for hacking as this uses off-the-shelf components that are both inexpensive, and easy to find. It certainly reminds us of a multitouch display with added physical tokens .”

Thank you very much for mentioning this work! Just a little correction: The pitch of the “modulated noise” (a sawtooth synthesizer) is not mapped to the distance between the cluster prototype and the object, but to the local data density in the neighborhood of the object.


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This work was supported by the
Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC)