Bernie Goldbach in Limerick | Photo of tactile data on my knee
The see-through box on my knee (at left) vibrated when it received data sets from research done by Trevor Hogan at the Cork Institute of Technology. Hogan has conducted several different studies that display results in a tactile manner. One study explored people’s affective responses when experiencing data represented through different modalities. He could have sampled his audience in the University of Limerick for deeper analysis.
Most researchers present results on screen in the form of graphs or charts. When results come in your hand or on your knee as vibrations or as light patterns, they may elicit deeper responses. The tactile technologies are "data-driven artifacts (DataBox and SonicData) that represent the same dataset" as an area graph or pie chart.
The phenomenological approach to tactile data display, using the Repertory Grid Technique (RGT) during a group session to elicit participant’s personal constructs, received passing mention during Hogan's 3D Camp presentation. He passed around a data dowser and the Arduino-powered box in the photo which presented data in a manner I had never experienced. But then I realised I had been there before.
As a seasoned flight instructor in the USAF, I received haptic responses to flight data every day. When I preflighted the Lockheed C-141, I would get stick shaker responses while simulating an aerodynamic stall. When the aircraft discovered it was both low and slow, it would flash lights and sound a verbal alarm. In another aircraft, the Northrup T-38, I flew around the traffic pattern with the entire dashboard shaking vigourously as I pulled the jet through its final turn. All these are tactile data that have helped aviators accumulate billions of hours of accident-free flying in the US military. I flew through more than 3000 of those hours without an accident in my flight suit, making me a big fan of tactile data displays.
Bernie Goldbach curates links on flying.