Touch Me Viz: Data Physicalization Maker Lab

Level: Beginners

In our information age, data is one of the most valuable assets for economy, science, and society. The amount of digital data available to us is skyrocketing at an increasing pace every year. Data visualisation, i.e., turning data into pictures, has proven to be very well suited to support humans in making sense of data. 

But, data visualisations are mainly produced and consumed on paper or digital media. Perceiving these representations is mostly limited to our visual sense and constrained by the projection on flat surfaces. Using physical space and objects that represent data allows for even richer experiences that tap into the power of our tactile senses and spatial orienteering capabilities in addition to our visual perception.

Already in ancient times humans turned data into physical objects, such as calendars engraved into bones or tokens made of clay. With todays advances in digital fabrication tools like 3D printers or laser cutters, we have reached a compeltely new level of possiblities to produce physical objects that are based on digital data.

The aim of this workshop is to experiment with ways of transforming data into physical objects where data can be touched and felt. We will be using both physical tools (e.g., pen & paper, scissors & cardboard, 3D printer, laser cutter) as well as digital tools (e.g., Excel, d3.js/SVG) to turn digital data into physical objects and sculptures.