List of Physical Visualizations
and Related Artifacts
By Date of Addition
This is a chronological list of physical visualizations and related artifacts, maintained by Pierre Dragicevic and Yvonne Jansen. Thanks to our contributors. Feel free to post a general comment or if you know of another interesting physical visualization, please submit it!
This list currently has 277 entries. See recent additions.
  

30000 BC – The Very First Sculptures March 15, 2015

While data sculptures date back from the 1990s, the very first sculptures were Venus figurines: A Venus figurine is any Upper Paleolithic statuette portraying a woman with exaggerated physical features. The oldest ones are about 35,000 years old. Right image: modern versions. Also see V.S. Ramachandran on the peak shift principle in art. Sources: Wikipedia article on Venus figurines. Left image from ancient-origins.net, right images from Mari Shiranui's flickr […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Physical model. Tags: , , ,

5500 BC – Mesopotamian Clay Tokens September 22, 2013

The earliest data visualizations were likely physical: built by arranging stones or pebbles, and later, clay tokens. According to an eminent archaeologist (Schmandt-Besserat, 1999): "Whereas words consist of immaterial sounds, the tokens were concrete, solid, tangible artifacts, which could be handled, arranged and rearranged at will. For instance, the tokens could be ordered in special columns according to types of merchandise, entries and expenditures; donors […]


2600 BC – Inca Quipus September 22, 2013

Quipus were complex assemblies of knotted ropes that were used in South America as a data storage device and played an important role in the Inca administration. Only a handful of specialists could use and decipher them. Their meaning mostly remains a mystery but it seems that color, relative position of knots, knot types and rope length were used to encode categorical and quantitative variables. […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , ,

150 BC – Greek Orrery November 9, 2014

An orrery is a mechanical model of the solar system. The left image shows the Antikythera, the oldest known orrery. The middle image shows a virtual reconstruction. The right image shows a contemporary orrery. The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient analog computer designed to predict astronomical positions and eclipses. It was recovered in 1900–01 from the Antikythera wreck, a shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera. The instrument was designed […]

Added by Melanie Bacou & Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Physical model. Tags: , , , , ,

132 – Chinese Seismoscope November 16, 2014

A seismoscope is a qualitative indicator of seismic activity — as opposed to seismographs which show quantitative data, typically through line graphs. The oldest known seismoscope is Chinese and dates backs from 132. It was a large bronze device that dropped a ball into a bronze container (one of the eight frogs on the image above) every time an earthquake was detected, thus producing a loud sound. The direction of […]

Added by Yvonne Jansen. Category: Measuring instrument. Tags: , ,

1500 – Plans-Reliefs November 18, 2015

The first terrain/city models date back from the 16th century and were created for military purposes. Left image: a plan-relief of Bayonne, created by Sébastian Vauban (1633–1707), a famous fortification engineer of King Louis XIV. Right image: a plan-relief of Grenoble from 1848. These scale models were highly prized for the tactical advantage they brought, and they were also shown around for dissuasive purposes. “Il y a […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Physical model. Tags: , ,

1660 – Galileo Thermometer December 5, 2014

A Galileo thermometer consists of a set of floaters immersed in a clear liquid (typically ethanol) inside a sealed glass tube. Today a floater is typically a glass sphere containing a colored liquid and to which is attached a metallic temperature tag. The composition of a floater is irrelevant, its overall density just needs to be calibrated to a certain value and remain stable. Floaters being made of glass and metal, their volume – […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Measuring instrument. Tags: , ,

1700 – Wearable Abacus from the Qing Dynasty July 16, 2016

A functioning abacus ring from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912), exhibited at the Cheng Dawei Abacus Museum in Huangshan City, China. Steve Mann mentions it as an early form of wearable "computer": Here is a "computer" (an abacus) and since it is a piece of jewelry (a ring), it is wearable. Such devices have existed for centuries, but do not successfully embody Humanistic Intelligence. In particular, because the […]

Added by Samuel Huron. Category: Other. Tags: , ,

1714 – Mercury Thermometer December 3, 2014

The mercury thermometer was invented by Dutch physicist Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit in 1714. It consists of a narrow glass tube with a bulb at the bottom, containing mercury. The volume of mercury changes with temperature; mercury is driven out of the bulb and up the tube as the temperature rises. Sources: Wikipedia article on Mercury-in-glass thermometer Image Credit: Donar Reiskoffer, Wikimedia Commons

Added by Jennifer Payne. Category: Measuring instrument

1750 – George Adams’ Solid Geometry Models December 1, 2014

During the 18th century, instrument maker George Adams built and sold solid 3D geometric models as educational complements to the 2D images found in Euclid's Elements of Geometry. As argued by a 18th-century author: It is almost as necessary as in mechanics, to exhibit the objects, whose qualities are to be taught; and to call in the joint assistance of the hands and eyes. According to […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Physical model. Tags: , , ,

1753 – Barbeu-Dubourg’s Machine Chronologique September 4, 2017

Before Joseph Priestley published his famous timelines, Frenchman Jacques Barbeu-Dubourg built a 16-meter long timeline showing 140 years of world history, which can be mechanically scrolled and folded for transport. Not a physical visualization but maybe the first “interactive” timeline representation in history. Seen in a talk by Catherine Plaisant. Sources: Stephen Boyd Davis (2009) The First Modern Timeline? Stephen Ferguson (1991) The 1753 Carte Chronographique by Jacques Barbeu Du Bourg. Photos […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Other. Tags: , ,

1787 – Chladni Plates September 13, 2017

In 1787, German physicist and musician Ernst Chladni published a technique to visualize the modes of vibration of a rigid surface. Chladni's technique […] consisted of drawing a bow over a piece of metal whose surface was lightly covered with sand. The plate was bowed until it reached resonance, when the vibration causes the sand to move and concentrate along the nodal lines where […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Uncertain. Tags: , ,

1820 – Papier-Mâché Anatomical Models November 19, 2014

Left image: As part of its 2014 exhibition entitled Mind Maps: Stories from Psychology, the London Science Museum showcased this very accurate and intricate papier-mâché brain model from 1900 that shows path of nerve fibers. French physician Louis Thomas Jerôme Auzoux developed this technique around 1820 due to the shortage of human cadavers and wax models to study human anatomy. He was inspired by papier-mâché dolls that were […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Tobias Isenberg. Category: Physical model. Tags: , , , , ,

1839 – Théodore Olivier’s String Models November 15, 2013

Between 1839 and 1853 the French mathematician Théodore Olivier created string models to teach and demonstrate descriptive geometry, some of which could be manipulated. He was a student of French mathematician Gaspard Monge, who invented descriptive geometry and was already illustrating his ideas with rudimentary string models. Photo above: intersection of two cylinders. Sources: Nicholas Mee (2013) Strings, Surfaces and Physics. Photo above taken in the […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Physical model. Tags: , , ,

1862 – Marshall Islands Stick Charts September 4, 2013

These physical visualizations show ocean swell patterns, and were built by native Micronesians from the Marshall Islands to facilitate canoe navigation. They were memorized before trips. The Western world remained unaware of the existence of these artifacts until 1862. The photo above is a stick chart from 1974. Straight sticks represent regular currents and waves, curved sticks represent ocean swells, and seashells represent atolls and […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

1862 – De Chancourtois’ Telluric Screw December 2, 2014

The French geologist Alexandre-Émile Béguyer de Chancourtois was the first scientist to see the periodicity of elements when they were arranged in order of their atomic weights. Credited with being the original discoverer of the periodicity of elements and the originator of the three-dimensional method of element arrangement and representation. He drew the elements as a continuous spiral around a […]

Added by Fanny Chevalier. Category: Uncertain. Tags: , ,

1865 – Hofmann’s Croquet Ball Models November 28, 2014

August Wilhelm Hofmann was the first to introduce physical representations of molecules into lectures during his Friday Evening Discourses presentation "On the Combining Power of Atoms" at London's Royal Institution of Great Britain in . He introduced a colored set of four croquet balls to represent atoms (hydrogen, oxygen, chlorine and nitrogen), implanted with a fixed number of sticks corresponding to each atom's valence.  Thus we distinguish the chlorine atom as univalent, […]

Added by Fanny Chevalier. Category: Uncertain. Tags: , , , ,

1866 – Dewar’s Brass Strip Models November 30, 2014

Mechanical arrangement adapted to illustrate structure in the non-saturated hydrocarbons by the chemist James Dewar. The model is made of bars, clamped together so as to allow free motion. In order to make the combination look like an atom, a thin round disc of blackened brass can be placed under the central nut. At the ends of the arms are holes to connect […]

Added by Fanny Chevalier. Category: Uncertain. Tags: , , ,

1871 – Thermodynamic Surfaces July 7, 2013

A physical visualization by Scottish physicist James Maxwell (left), constructed over the course of about seven months, from November 1874 to July 1875, based on the descriptions of thermodynamics surfaces described in two 1873 papers by American engineer Willard Gibbs. The molded shape depicts the geometry of the three-dimensional thermodynamic surface of the various states of existence of water: solid, liquid, orgas, shown on Cartesian coordinates of the entropy (x), volume (y), and energy (z) […]

Added by Yvonne Jansen, sent by Fanny Chevalier. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

1875 – Van’t Hoff’s Molecular Paper Models November 30, 2014

Van’t Hoff disseminated his stereochemical ideas to leading chemists of the day by sending them 3-D paper models of tetrahedral molecules, like these now housed in the Leiden Museum. There might be some difficulty in following my reasoning. I felt this myself, and I have made use of cardboard figures to facilitate the representation. Not wanting to require too much of the reader I will […]

Added by Fanny Chevalier. Category: Uncertain. Tags: , , ,

1880 – Klein’s Mathematical Plaster Models November 1, 2014

In the 19th century, mathematicians became interested in the question how mathematical functions look like. Felix Klein, a German mathematician, painstakingly created such physical models in his lab in Göttingen and popularized them in America when he brought a boatload to the World's Fair in Chicago in 1893. The photo above shows a model of a Clebsch surface from 1880, created by Klein and today kept at the University of Göttingen. Source:  Joshua […]

Added by Yvonne Jansen, sent by Saiganesh Swaminathan. Category: Physical model. Tags: , ,

1880 – Winogradsky Columns March 19, 2016

The Winogradsky column, invented by Sergei Winogradsky, consists in a transparent cylinder for analyzing microbial life by observing how the metabolism of micro-organisms evolve over time in stratified layers. By producing a small closed ecosystem, the column enables observing how bacteria can survive by providing a temporal and spatial visualization of layers such as in ecology, microbiology. Sources: The Microbiome of Your Gut Winogradsky Column—Microbial Evolution in […]

Added by Jean Vanderdonckt. Category: Uncertain. Tags: , , , ,

1885 – Ammassalik Wooden Maps February 28, 2012

These three-dimensional maps were carved by inuits from the Ammassalik Fjord in Greenland, and used as eyes-free guides for sailing. The left one shows coastline, the right one shows a sequence of offshore islands. These inuit communities had had no direct contact with Europeans before a Danish explorer met them in 1885 and was shown the wooden maps. Sources: Bill Buxton (2007). Sketching User Experiences. […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Physical model. Tags: , , ,

1887 – Marey’s Movement Sculptures December 6, 2014

Bronze sculpture showing the phases of the flight of birds, created by French scientist Étienne-Jules Marey in 1887 based on photographs. Étienne-Jules Marey was a pioneer in the study of dynamic phenomena and invented a variety of scientific and medical instruments, photography techniques, and temporal visualization methods. A wealth of information is available about him online. Also see our entry on Peter Jansen's movement sculptures, inspired from his work. Sources: […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Physical model. Tags:

1889 – Gaudí’s Hanging Chain Models January 20, 2015

Spanish Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí disliked drawings and prefered to explore some of his designs — such as the unfinished Church of Colònia Güell and the Sagrada Família — using scale models made of chains or weighted strings. It was long known that an optimal arch follows an inverted catenary curve, i.e., an upside-down hanging chain. Gaudí's upside-down physical models took him years to build but gave him more flexibility […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Physical model. Tags: ,

1890 – Polynesian Genealogical Instrument July 18, 2015

This artefact from the Marquesas Islands (French Polynesia) served as a memory aid for reciting genealogies during ceremonies. Each thread, made of woven coconut fiber, is a genealogical line and each knot is a generation. The genealogy goes back to the mythical origins of Earth, materialized by the oblong ball on top, made of wood (see left image). The date of the artefact is […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: ,

1898 – Tallies Used as Social Displays on Pacific Islands November 24, 2014

In the 19th century, the Torres Strait Islanders did not have a numeral system and used sticks to keep counts. Sticks were tied to a string, forming a bundle (called kupe) that could be rolled and unrolled when needed. Kupes were typically used by men to keep track of their accomplishments, such as turtles caught in deep water, fishes speared, or adventures with women (as the one above). These physical visualizations were used as social […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

1898 – Crookes’ Vis Generatrix December 2, 2014

Model of Crookes’ "Vis Generatrix" made in 1898, built by his assistant, Gardiner. From: Proc. R. Soc. Lond. 63, 408. The vertical scale represents the atomic weight of the elements from H = 1 to Ur = 239. Missing elements are represented with a white circle. Similar elements appear underneath each other. With this model, Crookes was trying to visualize the hypothetical relationship between various elements in […]

Added by Fanny Chevalier. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

1900 – Modern Solid Terrain Modeling October 18, 2012

The Institute of Cartography ETH Zurich published a great review of past and present techniques for doing solid terrain modeling. Although terrain models are not physical visualizations in the strict sense, the techniques could be in principle used to convey data. Physical terrain models were already being built in 16th the century, and the review covers modern techniques from the early 20th century to today's […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Enabling technology. Tags: , ,

1900 – Crum Brown’s Mathematical Surface January 17, 2016

Model by Alexander Crum Brown (1838-1922) of a half-twist mathematical surface, featuring a non-Euclidean so-called Klein bottle, c. 1900. Sources: Photo from the Science Museum, London, textual description courtesy of Klaus Hentschel. For more, see Klaus Hentschel (2014): Visual Cultures in Science, Technology and Medicine, pp. 96ff. and pl. XIV.  

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Klaus Hentschel. Category: Physical model. Tags: ,

1901 – Davenport’s Physical Distributions November 1, 2014

In 1901, biologist Charles Davenport "built" physical visualizations that show the distributions of features of objects and people. These visualizations were made out of the objects and the people themselves. The purpose was to explain the notion of statistical distribution to a lay audience. On the left image, seashells are piled up according to how many ribs they have. On the middle image, students are arranged in bins according to their height. […]


1907 – Pin Maps January 26, 2013

Left image: residence of Harvard students 6 years after their graduation (1907); made with beads, pins and wires. Middle image: Sources of the 3,000 first letters of appeal sent to Mrs. E. H. Harriman (1912); eight different kinds of pins were used to represent different kinds of appeals. Right image: collection of pins and beads made for maps. Sources: Willard Cope Brinton (1914) Graphic Methods for Presenting Facts pp. 227-253. […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

1913 – Frankfurt Streetcar Load January 26, 2013

Strips of woods glued on top of each other convey the average number of passengers carried between two stops. Each strip corresponds to 4,000 passengers. Shown at the 1913 International building trade exhibition in Leipzig. Source: Willard Cope Brinton (1914) Graphic Methods for Presenting Facts pp 224-226.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: ,

1914 – Solid 3D Curves for Engineering November 1, 2014

In his 1914 book, Brinton discusses various techniques for building solid models of three-dimensional charts and functions for the purposes of engineering, and uses the two designs above as examples. Although these don't look like they could be solid models, the text from Brinton's book suggests they are. The first one (left) is made of plaster and shows the characteristics of a light bulb. The […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

1915 – Wire Models of Factory Worker Movements December 19, 2015

3D wire models of hand motion paths (or chronocyclegraphs) created by Frank Gilbreth, a pioneer in the study of motion in the workplace. In his 1917 book, Gilbreth explains how he created these solid models from time-lapse photographs, and how useful they are to study and teach human motion. Left image: Wire model of foreman on drill press. This shows “positioning” in the midst of “transporting.” […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , ,

1930 – Mathematical Functions Embodied in Ballistic Cams December 14, 2014

These cams are solid models of bivariate and univariate mathematical functions plotted in cylindric coordinates (left and middle images) and polar coordinates (right image). They were not meant to be visually examined, but were used in mechanical analog computers for aiming battleship guns during WWII. They were also called computing cams. Mechanical fire control aids started to be developed in the 1900s and and were still in use in the late […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Emmanuelle Beauxis-Aussalet & Yvonne Jansen. Category: Physical model. Tags: , ,

1933 – IBM’s Cosmograph February 28, 2012

The left image above shows a physical flow chart (Sankey diagram) made of 1000 sheets of paper. It was not meant to be directly read, but to be photographed (see right image). The physical apparatus, called Cosmograph, allowed people without graphic skills to easily produce nice-looking Sankey diagrams. It was copyrighted by IBM in 1933 and sold for $50. Sources: Willard Cope Brinton […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

1934 – Ford’s Globe February 28, 2012

A large rotating relief globe showing Ford company's industrial sites around the word, exhibited at the Chicago World's Fair in 1934. Sources: Willard Cope Brinton (1939) Graphic Presentation, p. 160. The Henry Ford Blog (2013) Ford at the Fair. More photos from the Henry Ford Online Collection.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Physical model. Tags: , ,

1934 – Hayward’s Moon Model January 17, 2016

Illustrator and model-maker Roger Hayward (1899-1979) working on a model of the lunar surface for the Griffith Planetarium, 1934. Sources: Kevin Kidney (2009) Mr. Hayward's Moon Model. Photo from Keven Kidney's blog, textual description courtesy of Klaus Hentschel. For more, see Klaus Hentschel (2014): Visual Cultures in Science, Technology and Medicine, pp. 217-226.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Klaus Hentschel. Category: Physical model. Tags: ,

1935 – 3D Visualizations of Power Consumption January 26, 2013

A large 3D physical visualization made by the Detroit Edison Company showing electricity consumption for the year 1935, with a slice per day and each day split into 30 min intervals. Two other examples from different Edison electricity companies are discussed in Brinton's book. These physical visualizations seem to have been used to better anticipate power demands. Sources: Willard Cope Brinton (1939) Graphic Presentation pp 364-365. Howard […]

Added by Yvonne Jansen & Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Samuel Huron. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

1939 – Map of Great Britain’s Marine Trade February 28, 2012

A physical World map made of copper and glass showing the size of Great Britain's merchant marine and the main trade routes as 9,000 miniature ship models. Exhibited at the New York World Fair in 1939. Sources: Willard Cope Brinton (1939) Graphic Presentation, p. 207. Life Magazine (1939) New York Opens the Gates to the World of Tomorrow. Vol. 6, No. 20, May 15 1939.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

1940s – Stedman’s 3D Periodic Table January 8, 2015

Dr. Don Stedman from the National Research Council Canada designed this 3-D periodic table in the 1940s. Stedman considered many factors and characteristics of the elements as he designed his models. While in this model all the usual groups of elements are found, changes from one group to another are also represented, and their origins are more easily understood. Stedman believed that his model gave […]

Added by Devon Elliott. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: ,

1945 – Electron Density Map and Molecular Model of Penicillin November 2, 2014

Electron density map and model of Penicillin created by Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin in 1945 based on her work on X-ray crystallography. The Penicillin molecule was the first molecule whose structure was derived entirely from X-ray data. Dorothy Hodgkin later received the Nobel price for applying the same technique to determine the structure of the B12 molecule. Dorothy Hodgkin (1910-94) was awarded the prestigious and exclusive […]


1947 – Dorothy Hodgkin’s Electron Density Contours July 15, 2013

Nobel prize winning crystallographer Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin created another physical visualization in the mid 1940's, showing part of the structure of penicillin. An original of this artifact is in the Oxford Museum of the History of Science. This technique recently inspired artist Angela Palmer for her glass portraits. Sources: Lachlan Michael and David Cranswicka (2008) Busting out of crystallography's Sisyphean prison: from pencil and paper to structure […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Jean-Baptiste Labrune. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

1949 – Moniac: A Hydromechanical Machine to Teach Economics December 28, 2014

The MONIAC or Phillips machine is a hydromechanical analog computer built to teach basic economical principles using colored water flowing in transparent pipes. The machine was built in 1951 after electrical-engineer-turned-economist William Phillips and his economist colleague Walter Newlyn realized that flows were used as a metaphor to teach economics, but have never been made physical. Phillips is also known for his eponymous curves. Several MONIACs were built, and a working one is permanently displayed at the Economics Department of Cambridge University. Sources: Bissell (2007) The […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Physical model. Tags: , , , , , , ,

1949 – Mississippi River Basin Model October 3, 2016

As a response to devastating floods of the Mississippi river in the early 1900s, the US Army Corps of Engineers built a large-scale hydraulic model of the entire river system. The model, 2.5 times the size of Disneyland, allowed them to design better flood control infrastructures and to eventually save millions of dollars. In 1973, the physical model ceased to be used and was replaced by computer models. Nevertheless, mathematical equations […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Wesley Willett. Category: Physical model. Tags: , , ,

1951 – Microtiter Plates November 18, 2013

A microtiter plate is an array of chemical test tubes called "wells", invented in 1951 by a Hungarian medical doctor. They are used in a variety of experimental designs, most typically biochemistry assays. The picture above is an example of a colorimetric assay result. Most of the time, they are not directly interpreted visually, as in this example, but are instead put into a plate […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Jon Hill. Category: Uncertain. Tags:

1953 – Watson and Crick’s 3D Model of DNA December 25, 2014

In 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick suggested what is now accepted as the first correct double-helix model of DNA structure in the journal Nature. Their double-helix, molecular model of DNA was then based on a single X-ray diffraction image taken by Rosalind Franklin and Raymond Gosling in May 1952, as well as the information that the DNA bases are paired. Experimental evidence supporting the […]

Added by Paulie D. Category: Uncertain. Tags: , , ,

1957 – Proteine Visualizations February 6, 2013

Left image: The very first physical model of a protein (myoglobin) built by crystallographer John Kendrew in 1957 using plasticine. The image is from a 1958 Nature article, for a more recent photo see here. In 1960 Kendrew completed a higher-resolution skeletal model known as the "forest of rods". The model was 2-meter wide, made of brass, and supported with 2,500 vertical rods, making it […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

1961 – Voskhod Spacecraft “Globus” IMP navigation instrument November 16, 2014

This device was the location indicator for Russian spacecrafts from the world's first manned spaceflight by Yuri Gagarin, 12 April 1961, until 2002. It contains a mechanical computer and a physical globe which rotated to always display the point on earth exactly underneath the spacecraft, or, alternatively, the point where the spacecraft would land if the re-entry rockets where fired at that exact moment. The […]

Added by Yvonne Jansen. Category: Measuring instrument. Tags: , ,

1968 – Jacques Bertin’s Reorderable Matrices February 28, 2012

A device made by French cartographer Jacques Bertin for exploring tabular data, developed in the mid 1960s. More photos on the aviz website, in the flickr photo set by Jean-Baptiste Labrune, and on Page 78 of Nathalie Henry's PhD dissertation. Also see this old educational video, Jean-Daniel Fekete's interview on Jacques Bertin by Enrico Bertini, our interview by Data Stories where we demo a simplified version of Bertin's matrix made by Innar Liiv, and […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

1968 – Charles Csuri’s Numeric Milling Sculpture November 5, 2014

Csuri's wooden sculpture Numeric Milling is one of the few early computer sculptures created with a computer-driven milling machine… This work made use of the Bessel function to generate the surface. The computer program then generated a punched tape to represent the coordinate data. Included were instructions to a 3-axis, continuous path, numerically controlled milling machine. Sources:  Csuri Project: Plotter Drawing, 1966 – 1970: Numeric […]


1970 – 3D Sankey Diagram November 1, 2014

This physical 3D Sankey diagram shows complex energy flows and was created in the 70s by the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS). Little information is available about it. It seems to be composed of five layers of transparent sheet, with four additional layers running perpendicularly. Physical size unknown. Source: Energy Education References Wiki. Energy Flow Diagrams 1949-2009.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: ,

1970 – MoMA Poll: Participatory Bar Chart February 1, 2015

German-American artist Hans Haacke created a participatory physical bar chart as part of a 1970 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). The audience expressed his opinion on the question "Would the fact that Governor Rockefeller has not denounced President Nixon's Indochina Policy be a reason for your not voting for him in November?". The left plexiglass box collected "Yes" answers, while the right box collected "No" answers. Rockefeller was running for […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

1970 – Byron’s Bender November 11, 2015

In the early 1970's, crystallographer Byron Rubin invented a tool that bends wires to make proteins models. The tool was popular until the 1990s. Byron Rubin became an artist who builds large-scale molecular sculptures. Eric Martz and Eric Francoeur explain how such physical models yielded important scientific insights: An example illustrating the importance of models from Byron's Bender occurred at a scientific meeting in the mid 1970's. At this time, less than two […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Enabling technology. Tags: , , , ,

1973 – Mazamet Ville Morte June 28, 2015

In 1973, the French town of Mazamet had a population that closely matched the nationwide number of motor vehicule deaths across the previous year. A TV reporter decided to show all inhabitants lying on the floor to symbolize these deaths. Source: Marieaunet (2010) 1973 Mazamet ville morte.  

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Charles Nepote. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , ,

1979 – Great Polish Map of Scotland May 27, 2016

The "Great Polish Map of Scotland" is a 50 x 40 m concrete terrain model of Scotland. It was built by a Polish sergeant who stationed in Scotland during WWII and ended up living there. It is claimed to be the world's largest terrain model, although the Chinese built a 900 x 700 m model in 1999. Source: Atlas Obscura. Great Polish Map of Scotland.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Benjamin Bach. Category: Physical model. Tags: , ,

1985 – Using the Physical to Explain the Virtual November 1, 2014

In this 1985 video, Rick Becker from AT&T Bell Labs explains the concept of "dynamic graphics". Already in the early 70s, statisticians like John Tukey were starting to experiment with multidimensional data visualization on flat computers screens, including 3D data visualizations that could be interactively rotated to convey depth. This video shows how enthusiastic these people were to transition from the physical to the virtual. Nevertheless, […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: ,

1987 – All the Submarines of the United States of America February 7, 2015

This installation from American artist Chris Burden shows the 625 submarines of the US fleet from the late 1890s to the late 1980s. The cardboard models have been suspended at different heights to look like a school of fish. Also see our other entries on single-datum physical visualizations. Sources: Found on Loren Madsen's lecture slides Art as Information – Information as Art. Wikipedia article on Chris Burden. Photo from Giorgia Valli, […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

1991 – Münster Congestion Visualization December 3, 2016

In order to encourage bus use, in 1991 the city of Münster, Germany created a poster that compares the space taken by 72 bicycles (left), 72 cars (middle), and a bus (right). Sources: Benjamin Starr (2014) How Much Space Do Cars Take? Cyclists Demonstrate How Bicycles Flight Congestion Image from visualnews.com

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , , ,

1992 – Tactile Infographics January 26, 2013

In 1994 the American Printing House for the Blind publishes a short guidebook explaining how to convey infographics for the blind using tactile graphics. Part (and maybe all) of it is inspired by a 1992 book by Polly Edman. Sources: APH (American Printing House for the Blind), Inc. (1994) Tactile Graphics Starter Kit. Polly Edman (1992) Tactile Graphics

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: ,

1992 – Durrell Bishop’s Marble Answering Machine November 21, 2014

In 1992, Durrell Bishop, then a student at the Royal College of Art, came up with an original answering machine design that is considered as one of the first tangible user interfaces (TUIs). The machine spits out a marble each time an incoming voice message is recorded. The order of the marbles indicates the order in which the messages arrived. Messages can be played back by putting a […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Active physical visualization. Tags: , ,

1995 – Loren Madsen’s Early Data Sculptures January 13, 2015

Californian artist Loren Madsen has been making data sculptures since 1995 and still continues today. CPI / Cost of Living (left image) is the first of his series: A lamination is one year. Vertical axis is the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for food; the horizontal axis is the CPI for gasoline + electricity. The rising center line is the CPI for housing. The 'snout' is the […]

Added by Loren Madsen & Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , , , ,

1995 – San Diego TeleManufacturing Facility May 6, 2015

In 1995, Mike Bailey from the San Diego Supercomputer Center created the SDSC TeleManufacturing Facility to help scientists visualize their data in physical form. In 1997, the facility produced one of the first digitally-fabricated molecular models using laminated object manufacturing. The biochemists involved in the project got insights that they were not able to get from the on-screen 3D models, and concluded that: modern physical models are important tools that significantly […]


1996 – Ned Kahn’s Wind-Visualizing Facades November 20, 2016

Since 1996, Nothern California artist Ned Kahn creates large-scale installations that visualize wind patterns. The left image shows Wind veil (2000), a facade of a parking garage covered with 80,000 small aluminum panels that are hinged to move freely in the wind. The right video shows Wind arbor (2011), a facade of a hotel lobby in Singapore covered with a cable net structure composed of a half a million hinged […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Samuel Huron. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

1999 – World’s Largest Solid Terrain Model January 14, 2015

In 2006, a mysterious 900x700m solid terrain model with military facilities was discovered by a German Google Earth user next to the Chinese town of Huangyangtan. It was quickly identified as a 1:500 replica of a disputed area in Tibet between China and India 2400km away, with perfectly matching orientation. Chinese authorities claimed the model was built 7-8 years earlier as a tank training facility. It is unclear […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Physical model. Tags: , , , ,

2000 – Graph Boards January 26, 2013

Mathematics and geometry are often taught to blind students using a cork board with raised grid lines, push pins and rubber bands. The right image shows a teacher explaining the use of the Graphic Aid for Mathematics, a physical kit sold by the American Printing House for the Blind. Date of invention unknown. Sources: Suzan Osterhaus (2001) Teaching Math to Visually Impaired Students. Youtube video series […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Enabling technology. Tags: ,

2000 – Kanban Boards December 1, 2014

A Kanban board is a task management tool where sticky notes representing work items are moved across a board to reflect their state of advancement. The simplest form has three states: to do, in progress, and done (left image). A Kanban board provides a visual overview over all work items that makes it possible to rapidly spot time management issues, such as too many items in progress. Although software […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Uncertain. Tags: ,

2000 – A Shape Display Appears in a Movie February 18, 2015

An imaginary ultra high-resolution 2.5D shape display appears in the 2000 movie X-Men. The rendering and animations are visually quite appealing. Notice how impossible overhangs appear at 0:27 (the bridge) and 0:33 (the torch of the Statue of Liberty). This movie scene has prompted a company to design and build an actuated solid terrain model for military customers, see our entry 2004 – XenoVision Mark III. Also see our entry 2009 […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Enabling technology. Tags: , , , ,

2002 – Bathsheba Grossman’s Crystal Engravings February 6, 2013

Artist Bathsheba Grossman has been 3D printing mathematical surfaces as early as 1997. In 2002 she started to use subsurface laser engraving to produce 3D physical visualizations of data from astronomy, biology, and physics. Left image: a piece of DNA molecule. Right image: a 3D map of our nearby stars. The artist explains to us: This medium excels at imaging less structural data such as disconnected volumes, non-compact point clouds, […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic & Bathsheba Grossman. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , , , , ,

2003 – Solid Terrain Model with Airplane Trajectory October 18, 2012

A real case study involving the use of a physical 3D trajectory visualization on top of a 3D terrain model to analyze the causes of a plane crash. This case study is interesting in terms of cost-benefit analysis, since these models appear to be extremely time-consuming to build. The case study includes an informal comparison with animations: "The mock jurors later related that the physical model […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2003 – Time Pieces: Physical Space-Time Cubes July 25, 2013

Artist Marilynn Taylor created seven three-dimensional maps (one for each day of the week) in which time is the z-axis and a copper wire shows how she moved across the city during the day. Source: Maryline Taylor (2003) Time pieces – Mapping the time and space of place (2003 version).

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Benjamin Bach. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: ,

2003 – Mount Fear: Elevation Map of Crime Rates February 28, 2012

A 3D map of East London where elevation represents the rate of violent crimes between 2002 & 2003. Corrugated cardboard, 145h x 540w x 425d cm. Source: Abigail Reynolds. Mount Fear East London.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic & Yvonne Jansen. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2003 – Pattern Recognition in a Bucket November 11, 2015

Chrisantha Fernando and Sampsa Sojakka from the University of Sussex published a paper where they demonstrate that a bucket of water can carry out complex, parallel computations, and can even do simple speech recognition. Their setup called "liquid brain" consists in a transparent water tank suspended over an overhead projector and four LEGO motors. Input values are sent to the motors which vibrate the water. A camera […]


2004 – Cylinder: Early Sound Sculpture February 11, 2013

Cylinder by Andy Huntington and Drew Allan may be one of the first digitally-fabricated sound sculptures. Also see our entry 2007 – Explosion of sound sculptures. Source: http://extraversion.co.uk/2003/cylinder/

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Fanny Chevalier. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , ,

2004 – Full-Color 3D-Printed Scientific Visualizations October 30, 2012

In 2004, the Visualization Research Lab from Brown University printed full-color 3D models of scientific visualizations. They published a poster on the topic where they discuss the technical challenges they faced. The printer used was a Zcorp Z406. Also see our entry 1995 – SDSC TeleManufacturing Facility. Source: http://vis.cs.brown.edu/areas/projects/rapid.html


2004 – Scripps’ Molecule Models January 28, 2013

Since 2004 the Molecular Graphics Laboratory at the Scripps Research Institute has been making heavy use of 3D-printed full-color physical molecule models, some of which are articulated (left image), flexible (middle image), and even self-assembling (right image, see video). They also publish augmented reality systems that use those physical models. Also see our entry 1995 – SDSC TeleManufacturing Facility. Sources: Web Page: http://mgl.scripps.edu/projects/tangible_models Tommy Toy (2011) How Arthur […]


2004 – XenoVision Mark III: A Dynamic Solid Terrain Model November 30, 2012

The XenoVision Mark III Dynamic Sand Table by the company Xenotran is a self-reconfigurable solid terrain model with military applications. There is little information on this device but it seems well ahead of its time. Michael Schmitz and coauthors explain how this high-resolution shape display with 7000 actuators was originally inspired by a scene from the X-Men movie (see our entry 2000 – A Shape […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Enabling technology. Tags: , , ,

2004 – Synaptic Caguamas: Visualize Cellular Automata November 5, 2014

Synaptic Caguamas is a kinetic sculpture consisting of a motorized Mexican "cantina" bar table with 30 "Caguama"-sized beer bottles (1-litre each). The bottles spin on the table with patterns generated by cellular automata algorithms that simulate the neuronal connections in the brain. Every few minutes the bottles are reset automatically and seeded with new initial conditions for the algorithm, so that the movement patterns […]

Added by Karine Charbonneau. Category: Uncertain. Tags: , ,

2004 – Array of Belts Visualize Public Presence November 15, 2014

Standards and Double Standards is an interactive installation that consists of 10 to 100 fastened belts that are suspended at waist height from stepper motors on the ceiling of the exhibition room. Controlled by a computerized tracking system, the belts rotate automatically to follow the public, turning their buckles slowly to face passers-by. When several people are in the room their presence affects […]

Added by Karine Charbonneau. Category: Interactive installation. Tags: , ,

2004 – Of All the People in All the World: Stats with Rice November 17, 2014

Since around 2004 the British group of artists Stan's Cafe is creating data landscapes all over the world by mapping each grain of rice to a person in order to convey various statistics such as city populations or deaths in the holocaust. The size and theme of the show change depending on the location. The largest one involved 104 tons of rice. Rice is weighted manually in small quantities and manually poured over piles. This labor-intensive process is […]


2004 – Worry (Prayer) Beads January 29, 2015

One bead = one year. Size of colored beads is proportional to number of terrorist-caused deaths. Black beads = no terrorist deaths. The largest bead is 2001. Also see Loren Madsen's earlier piece Tops (2001) featuring the same dataset, our entry 1995 – Loren Madsen’s Early Data Sculptures, and our interview with the artist. Sources: Loren Madsen  

Added by Loren Madsen. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , ,

2005 – Time-Evolving Scatterplot December 20, 2012

Unemployment rate plotted against inflation for 8 countries over 10 years. Every layer represents a year and each country is a wire of a different color. This physical visualization was built by Tim Dwyer for his PhD dissertation. His goal was to experimentally compare a 3D and a 2D data representation, and he used a physical object to emulate a perfect 3D display. Source: Tim Dwyer […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2005 – Tactile Rubik’s Cubes September 9, 2012

An online article compares several different designs for tactile Rubik's Cubes created between 2005 and 2010. Left image: different objects on the outside of the cube give each side a different feel. Right image: laser-cut shapes. Source:  Smithsonian magazine.

Added by Yvonne Jansen, sent by Fanny Chevalier. Category: Other. Tags: , ,

2005 – Molecular Jewellery January 19, 2015

Raven Hanna got her PhD in biochemistry in 2000, and five years later, she became an artist and started to create jewelry based on molecular structures in order to communicate science through art. Image above: endorphine necklace. Sources: Raven Hanna www.madewithmolecules.com (see 2005 version) Leigh Krietsch Boerner (2010) Profile: Molecular Jewelry Design

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Uncertain. Tags: , , ,

2006 – Inverted Participatory Bar Charts February 28, 2012

Participatory physical visualization where people pick badges from tanks to vote. A lower bar means more votes. Source: Lucy Kimbell (2006). Physical Bar Charts.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2006 – Nathalie Miebach’s Woven Sculptures February 29, 2012

Artist Nathalie Miebach created a range of beautiful woven sculptures out of weather data. Source: Nathalie Miebach. http://www.nathaliemiebach.com/weather.html (see TED Talk).

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Fanny Chevalier. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2006 – Pulse Room: Light Bulbs Show Heart Beats November 15, 2014

Pulse Room is an interactive installation featuring one to three hundred clear incandescent light bulbs, 300 W each and hung from a cable at a height of three metres. The bulbs are uniformly distributed over the exhibition room, filling it completely. An interface placed on a side of the room has a sensor that detects the heart rate of participants. When someone […]

Added by Karine Charbonneau. Category: Interactive installation. Tags: , ,

2006 – RoomQuake: Earthquake Visualization for the Classroom November 17, 2014

Styrofoam balls hung from classroom ceiling representing the epicenters (location), magnitudes (diameter and color), and depths (length of the string) of a series of simulated earthquakes in a fifth grade classroom.  Source: Tom Moher (2006) Embedded Phenomena: Supporting Science Learning with Classroom-sized Distributed Simulations.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Tom Moher. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2006 – Peter Jansen’s Movement Sculptures November 19, 2014

Dutch artist Peter Jansen creates sculptures of moving characters by merging successive snapshots into a single monolithic object. These are not physical visualizations as they do not display data, but the technique could certainly inspire the creation of physical visualizations for complex temporal data. The idea of merging time slices is reminiscent of the pioneering work of Étienne-Jules Marey in the 1880s on chronophotography. See our entry on Marey's […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Physical model. Tags: ,

2006 – Clebsch Cubic Surface January 2, 2016

A 90 cm tall Clebsch bicubic surface hand made in resin and fiber. It includes all lines lying inside the surface. Also see our entry 1880 – Klein’s Mathematical Plaster Models for an earlier version made of plaster. Sources: Cayetano Ramirez. obratano.com (alternative website) Cayetano Ramirez (2006) Creation process for the transparent Clebsch surface.

Added by Sergio Hernandez. Category: Physical model

2007 – Global Cities: Elevation Maps of City Population October 18, 2012

Large-scale physical density models where plywood forms represent the populations of 12 of the world’s major urban centres. Made by a team of designers and architects led by Professor Richard Burdett. Source: Eliza Williams (2007) Global Cities at Tate Modern. Right photo by Stefan Geens.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2007 – Explosion of Sound Sculptures February 11, 2013

In 2007-2008, sound became an endless source of inspiration for data sculptors. Examples include (images from left to right): Binaural by Daniel Widrig & Shajay Bhooshan (2007) Sound/Chair by Plummer Fernandez (2008) Sound Memory by Marius Watz (2008) Reflection by Andreas Nicolas Fischer & Benjamin Maus (2008) I Will Never Change by Us by Benga (2012) Microsonic Landscapes by Juan Manuel de J. Escalante (2012) The Shape […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic & Yvonne Jansen, sent by Fanny Chevalier & Benjamin Bach. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , ,

2007 – Wable: Web Behavior Shown with a Dynamic Bar Chart February 29, 2012

A dynamic bar chart visualizing one's online activity. From the company's website: The personal feeds from webapplications like Plazes, Flickr, and Last.fm tell much about the activity of an individual on the internet. In this project we aim to explore how you can visualize the changes of your web identity over time and create a physical link between your virtual and real identity. The interface consists of both […]


2007 – Wavefunction: Visualize Public Presence in Waves November 5, 2014

Wavefunction is a kinetic sculpture comprised of fifty to one hundred Charles and Ray Eames moulded chairs (designed in 1948) and placed in a regular array of rows, facing the entrance to the exhibition space. When someone approaches the work, a computerised surveillance system detects their presence and the closest chairs automatically begin to lift off the ground, creating the crest of […]

Added by Karine Charbonneau. Category: Interactive installation. Tags: , ,

2007 – Garden of Eden January 9, 2017

Garden of Eden consists of eight lettuces, each of which is enclosed in its own air-tight plexiglas box and represents a major city. The concencration of ozone in each box is controlled in real-time to reflect the current pollution level in the city. Sources: Thorsten Kiesl, Harald Moser, and Timm-Oliver Wilks (2007) Garden of Eden (web page) Thorsten Kiesl, Harald Moser, and Timm-Oliver Wilks (2007) Garden of Eden (paper)

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Active physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2008 – Kids Reconstruct Harry Potter’s Social Network February 28, 2012

At the 2008 science fair (fête de la science), the Aviz group had kids build physical node-link diagrams of Harry Potter's social network using magnets and rubber bands. Source: Aviz. http://www.aviz.fr/old/fetedelascience08/

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , ,

2008 – Scientific Visualization in Crystal February 28, 2012

Paul Bourke proposes to use sub-surface laser engraving for communicating about scientific findings at conferences. He also has seminar slides and a poster discussing the use of 3D-printed models. Source: Paul Bourke (2008) Presenting Scientific Visualisation Results as 3D Crystal Engravings.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Yvonne Jansen. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2008 – Andreas Fischers’ Data Sculptures February 29, 2012

Andreas Nicolas Fischer is a Berlin-based artist. Above are four of his 3-D data sculptures: Fundament (world GDP and derivatives volume) Indizes (finance data over time) A week in the life (cellphone communications) Reflection (FFT of a music piece). Source: http://anfischer.com via infosthetics.


2008 – Justin Stewart’s Data Sculptures February 29, 2012

A 3-D graph and a time series visualization. Source: http://thesocietypages.org/graphicsociology/tag/r-justin-stewart/

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2008 – Rearrangeable Wooden Model of Brain Scan January 30, 2013

A selection of MRI data glued on 60 wooden blocks which allow to physically dig into cross sections, by Neil Fraser. More details on infosthetics. Source: infosthetics.com.

Added by Yvonne Jansen. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2008 – Activity Logging with LEGO Bricks January 30, 2013

A visualization and logging method for personal work activity. Every tower is a day of the week. A layer is one working hour, horizontally subdivided in four quarters of an hour. Different colors are different projects. The constant availability of this interface makes it easier to log personal activity data on-the-fly, before entering it in a PIM software (an automatic method involving computer vision is […]


2008 – Bug Tracking with LEGO Bricks January 30, 2013

Takeshi Kakeda explains how to use LEGO bricks for bug tracking. Source: Takeshi Kakeda (2008) Tangible Bug Tracking using LEGO bricks. Agile 2008 conference.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2008 – Joshua Callaghan’s Physical Charts February 29, 2012

Joshua Callaghan has created various extruded 2-D charts. Source: http://www.joshuacallaghan.com/Graphs.htm

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2008 – BMW Kinetic Sculpture October 4, 2012

The Kinetic Sculpture is a metaphorical translation of the process of form-finding in art and design. 714 metal spheres, hanging from thin steel wires attached to individually-controlled stepper motors and covering the area of six square meters, animate a seven minute long mechatronic narrative. In the beginning, moving chaotically, then evolving to several competing forms that eventually resolve to the finished object, the kinetic […]

Added by Yvonne Jansen. Category: Enabling technology. Tags: , ,

2008 – Psychogeographical Mapping: Travel Logging with LEGO bricks February 7, 2015

American artist Cory Imig reconstructed the layout of the city of Savannah using LEGO bricks, and over the course of one month she added a colored brick every time she went to a particular place. Each color is a different day of the week. Source: Cory Imig (2008) Psychogeographical Mapping (see the section Documenting of her Web page for more data sculptures).

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Loren Madsen. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , ,

2009 – Form Follows Data: Tableware July 7, 2012

This set of tableware by designer Iohanna Pani conveys personal statistical data. Source: designboom

Added by Yvonne Jansen, sent by Fanny Chevalier. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: ,

2009 – In-Formed: More Data-Driven Tableware July 7, 2012

Another data-driven tableware, this time conveying world statistics. The fork on the image shows calories consumption for the US and three other countries. Source: Nadeem Haidary.

Added by Yvonne Jansen, sent by Fanny Chevalier. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2009 – S-XL CAKE: Irregular Cake Mold September 25, 2012

A cake mold that creates pieces of cake in different sizes. Although not a physical visualization, it could in principle encode data. Source: Ding 3000 via Infosthetics.com.

Added by Yvonne Jansen. Category: Enabling technology. Tags: ,

2009 – Distribution Plushies November 28, 2012

A commercial offer for a set of 10 plush distributions. Although not formally physical visualizations, they could in principle encode actual data. Source: web shop

Added by Yvonne Jansen, sent by Fanny Chevalier & Jean-Daniel Fekete. Category: Physical model. Tags: ,

2009 – Mitchell Whitelaw’s Weather Sculptures February 25, 2013

Weather data is another interesting choice for creating data jewelry. Above to the left is a bracelet created by Mitchell Whitelaw based on one year of weather data from Canberra. The right image shows a measuring cup made by the same artist, where each ring represents monthly average temperatures in Sydney over 150 years. Sources: Mitchell Whitelaw. Weather Bracelet (2009) Mitchell Whitelaw. Measuring Cup (2010)

Added by Yvonne Jansen, sent by Mitchell Whitelaw. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , ,

2009 – DataMorphose: Animated Sails October 28, 2012

DataMorphose is an interactive installation which projects various data streams into real space and visualizes it three-dimensionally. Information is represented by spanned and moving sails directly in the room. Source: Christiane Keller (2009). Data Morphose.

Added by Samuel Huron. Category: Active physical visualization. Tags: ,

2009 – Pulse: Animated Heart Shows Sentiments February 28, 2012

pulse is a live-visualization of recent emotional expressions, written on private weblog communities like blogger.com. Weblog entries are compared to a list of emotions, which refers to Robert Plutchik’s seminal book Psychoevolutionary Theory of Emotion published in 1980. Plutchik describes eight basic human emotions in his book: joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, disgust, anger, and anticipation. He developed a diagram in which these eight emotions, together […]

Added by Samuel Huron. Category: Active physical visualization. Tags: ,

2009 – Virtual Gravity: Giving Physical Weight to Data February 28, 2012

Virtual gravity is an interface between digital and analog world. With the aid of analog carriers, virtual terms can be taken up and transported from a loading screen to an analog scale. The importance and popularity of these terms (data base: Google Insights for Search), outputted as a virtual weight, can be weighed physically and compared. Therefore impalpable, digital data get an actual physical […]

Added by Samuel Huron. Category: Active physical visualization. Tags: ,

2009 – Poly: Physical Bar Chart Showing Online Poll Data February 29, 2012

Poly, a self-actuated bar chart which shows replies to online polls. Sources: Digit, London. Original polling website is down [Oct 2014]; check out an archived version instead.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Active physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2009 – Centograph: Dynamic Bar Charts Show Keyword Popularity February 2, 2013

Ten actuated bar charts that show the popularity of keywords of interest in news articles over time, made by the company Tinker from London. A separate search interface is provided on a regular desktop computer and sends queries to the Google News Archive. It is permanently installed in the St Paul's School for Boys Computing Department in London.  Sources: infosthetics Tinker London  

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Active physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2009 – Leithinger’s Interactive Shape Displays November 1, 2014

Daniel Leithinger, PhD student at MIT MediaLab and his colleagues, are studying interaction with shape displays. The team designed two impressive shape displays made of arrays of ultra-fast motorized pins. Relief (2009-2010, first row above) is made of 120 motorized pins on top of which can be added a rubber sheet and a projected image. Each pin can be addressed individually and senses user input like pulling and pushing. […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Active physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2009 – Marcovici’s Single-Datum Visualizations December 13, 2014

Vienna artist Michael Marcovici created two physical visualizations that convey a single numerical value. The first one shows one billion dollar – the most expensive piece of art ever made, according to him (although these were actually miniature bills). The second one called Rolex Time Sand shows an entire lifetime worth of hourglass sand. For another single-datum physical visualization see our entry Ceramic Poppies to Commemorate Fallen Soldiers in […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , ,

2009 – Windcuts: Wind Travels Captured on Wood February 7, 2015

Windcuts is a physical information visualisation retelling the Helsinki wind's travels over five days, using wind sensor measurements from Helsinki, and wood and a CNC machine to cut it from there too. […] The line's direction shows the wind's direction, the line's width shows the wind's speed – a more intense wind makes a bigger line – and the line's height shows the wind's temperature.  […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Miska Knapek. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , ,

2009 – Federal Budget Explained with 10,000 Pennies June 4, 2015

Political Math (formerly called 10000Pennies on the Youtube channel) is a blogger who criticizes the US policy using stats and low-tech physical visualizations. His first 2009 video titled "Obama Budget Cuts Visualization" (left image) got 1.7 million views. Coins, but also bills, water or whisky stand for units of money or jobs. A video often ends with a dramatic action where the blogger cuts a penny in two, overturns a gallon container, spills […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2009 – How Much Sugar do you Consume? July 16, 2015

Nutrition labels are often difficult to apprehend: when you drink a can of coke, you consume 39g of sugar, but how much is that? In order to increase consumer's awareness of how much sugar they ingest when eating and drinking, several campains have used a physical visualization using actual sugar cubes and sugar grains to represent the sugar content in food. Many examples can be found online […]

Added by Fanny Chevalier. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2010 – Data Sculptures in Class September 22, 2013

The two data sculptures above have been created by undergraduate students as part of a design class given by Andrew Vande Moere at the University of Sydney. A 2010 article he coauthored with Stephanie Patel (link below) provides many other examples of these. Andrew Vande Moere has published several articles on data sculptures since 2008. Sources: Andrew Vande Moere and Stephanie Patel (2010) The Physical Visualization of Information: […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: ,

2010 – Relational Ornaments: Networks Shown with Textile May 22, 2012

Textile art based on the network maps of Valdis Krebs.  Gundega Strautmane, a Latvian textile artist and designer, visualizes social and physical networks in a show called Relational Ornaments. The networks are created using various sized pins to depict nodes and threads connecting them to show relationships. Bringing visualization into the tactile world lends it a weight not able to be achieved on a […]

Added by Jean-Daniel Fekete, sent by Fanny Chevalier. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: ,

2010 – Keyboard Frequency Sculpture February 29, 2012

A 3D bar chart on top of a keyboard which shows the frequency of each letter in the alphabet. Source: Michael Knuepfel. Keyboard Frequency Sculpture.

Added by Yvonne Jansen. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2010 – Limbique: Brain Slices October 18, 2012

A neuroscientific physical visualization made by an artist and a neuroscientist. Exhibited at the at the VisWeek 2011 art show. Source: David Paulsen and Pinar Yoldas. Photo by Samuel Huron.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: ,

2010 – Thematic Maps of Germany July 27, 2013

Physical cartographic visualizations built by geographer Wolf-Dieter Rase with a Z650 printer. Left: average prices for building lots in Germany in 2006. Middle: unemployment in Germany in 2006; The surface represent trends, the columns represent local deviations from the trends (magenta means higher, cyan means lower). Right: travel distance to airports. Source: Wolf-Dieter Rase (2012) Creating Physical 3D Maps Using Rapid Prototyping Techniques.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: ,

2010 – Hans Rosling Adopts Physical Visualizations September 4, 2013

Hans Rosling is famous worldwide for his fascinating speeches about population growth and income inequalities, notably his 2006 TED Talk where he debunks myths about the third world using animated charts. In 2010 he started to tell stories about data using physical visualizations. He started by stacking Ikea boxes, then switched to a variety familiar objects including pebbles, toy construction kits, fruit juice, snow balls and […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic & Yvonne Jansen. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2010 – Headspace: Array of Actuated Bars July 24, 2013

Artist Geoffrey Drake-Brockman created Headspace, a matrix of 256 motorized bars (total size 150 x 150 x 80cm) to display the faces of over 700 schoolchildren. Not a data visualization, but could be used as such. Source: Geoffrey Drake-Brockman (2010). http://www.drake-brockman.com.au/

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Enabling technology. Tags:

2010 – Shanghai Spheres July 24, 2013

For the 2010 World Expo at Shangai, Japanese firms ADK and Murayama and Las-Vegas firm Fisher Technical Services, Inc. created an array of 1,008 15cm diameter actuated spheres, each suspended by its own micro winch. The show does not include data visualizations. Kinetic sculptures made of arrays of suspended spheres abound. An early one is Joe Gilbertson’s (2007). More recent ones include Kinetic Rain (2012) and […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Enabling technology. Tags: , ,

2010 – Dynamic Bar Chart to Visualize One’s Finances February 29, 2012

A design project by Swedish designer Hampus Edström to help people keeping an overview of their financial situation. Sources: Hampus Edström, project presentation. Yanko Design blog.


2010 – eCLOUD & airFIELD: Ambient Airport Visualizations February 11, 2013

Left image: eCLOUD is an airport installation at the San Jose International Airport created by Dan Goods, Nik Hafermaas, and Aaron Koblin. It is made of many large LCD pixels laid out in 3D space whose opacity change as a function of weather. Right image: A similar installation called airFIELD was created by the same team two years later. It shows air traffic and is installed at the Hartsfield-Jackson […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Fanny Chevalier. Category: Active physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2010 – Dust Serenade: Sound Waves Materialized November 16, 2014

'Dust Serenade' is a reenactment of an acoustic experiment done by German physicist August Kundt. Inspired by the Chladni's famous sand figures visualizing sound waves in solid materials, Kundt devised an experiment for visualizing longitudinal sound waves through fine lycopodium dust; a setup that would allow him to measure the speed of sound in different gases. Kundt was a strong believer in experimental methods over […]

Added by Dietmar Offenhuber. Category: Active physical visualization. Tags:

2010 – Quipu of the Periodic Table December 2, 2014

As a result of bringing together each pair of periods in a single function or binod, the author has found a new regular on the subject, which has been defined as a new quantum number, since the number of orders or regulations binod growth elements in the table, under the appearance of pairs of new types of quantum structures or periods whose organization responds […]

Added by Fanny Chevalier. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2010 – Retweet Ripples December 21, 2014

Interpreting tweets as droplets on an imaginary fluid surface, Karsten Schmidt and his colleagues created a 3D printed abstract visualization of tweets and their retweets forming ripple patterns. The visualization is created by first executing a Twitter search (here: "Justin Bieber") to create the initial droplets shown in the center of each ring. For each search result they then recursively executed secondary Twitter searches for retweets […]

Added by Karsten Schmidt. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2010 – Cookbook Arranges Ingredients into Physical Visualizations March 5, 2015

In Sweden, IKEA gives away baking books where ingredients are arranged into physical visualizations. The photos are by Karl Kleiner. This idea is reminiscent of Ursus Wehrli's art projects. Sources: Niels-Peter Foppen (2010) Hembakat är Bäst. Via Iohanna Nicenboim's pinterest. Images from notcot.com.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , ,

2010 – Computer Glitches as 3D Objects July 17, 2016

Glitch objects is a series of artworks by Tracy Cornish which transform two-dimensional visual results of computer glitches into three-dimensional objects by mapping properties of a visual glitch into 3D space. The left image shows glitch object 22, the right image shows glitch object 218. Computer glitches are the completely random, unpredictable and unexpected failures of digital systems. They are the result of approximated values […]

Added by Yvonne Jansen, sent by Todd Margolis. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: ,

2011 – From Over Here: News Trends February 28, 2012

"From Over Here" is a physical representation of articles from the New York Times from 1992-2010. Each card represents a month of articles about, or related to Ireland. The people and topics mentioned in the articles are etched on each card. Sources: Paul May, From Over Here, March 2011. infosthetics. Flickr album by Paul May – paulmay.org.

Added by Jean-Daniel Fekete. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: ,

2011 – LEGO Prism Maps February 28, 2012

Prism maps showing migration patterns between the Americas. Each Lego brick represents 10.000 people. Source: Samuel Granados. Lego Cartograms (via FlowingData and infosthetics).

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2011 – Tōhoku Japanese Earthquake Sculpture February 28, 2012

A data sculpture by Luke Jerram that depicts nine minutes of seismographic readings during the 9.0 earthquake. Source: Gizmodo. Photo by Luke Jerram.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2011 – Paper Models of 3D Plots February 29, 2012

Paul DeMarco from Maplesoft explains how to slice up 3D plots to build solid paper models. Source: Mapleprimes

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Enabling technology. Tags: ,

2011 – DIY United States Electoral Vote Map July 9, 2012

This is a 3D scale replica of the United States, the state height corresponds to the number of electoral votes each state controls in a presidential election. Source: thing 11178 on thingiverse.com


2011 – Can We Keep Up: Sponges Show Domestic Water Usage August 28, 2012

Can We Keep Up is a a physical data visualisation that investigates the domestic need for water in cities all over the world. Source: infosthetics.com. Image from Hal Watts.

Added by Yvonne Jansen, sent by Romain Vuillemot. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2011 – DataCoaster: Data-Driven Toys October 30, 2012

DataCoaster is a re-imagining of the classic waiting room toy. But instead of arbitrarily loopy lines, DataCoaster's lines are generated by data, essentially transforming a simple, kinetic toy into a graph of information. If you're interested in getting one of these for your data, have a look at the source for this entry and contact Bobby – he is planning to offer this service. Source: Bobby Genalo. DataCoaster.

Added by Yvonne Jansen, sent by Bobby Genalo. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags:

2011 – Laser-Cut Time Series September 4, 2013

Temperature measurements in Helsinki from May 2009 to May 2010. Each row is one week long. Source: Miska Knapek, see flickr photoset.


2011 – David Bowen’s Sea Wave Replicators November 1, 2012

Top: Tele-present water by David Bowen is an actuated surface controlled by wires and servo-motors that replicates sea wave patterns measured in real time in a remote location. Bottom: Underwater is a larger-scale version created by the same author. Sources: David Bowen (2011) Tele-present water series. David Bowen (2012) Underwater series.

Added by Yvonne Jansen & Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Samuel Huron & Romain Vuillemot. Category: Physical model. Tags: , ,

2011 – Adrien Segal’s Data Furniture November 4, 2014

Adrien Segal is an artist with a background in furniture design. She takes a data-driven approach where she uses data of natural events and environmental developments and transforms them into beautiful furniture. The choice of forms and materials conveys the origin of the data in an intriguing way. Left image: TRENDS IN WATER USE is a data sculpture that graphs national statistics of […]

Added by Yvonne Jansen. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: ,

2011 – Warning: Real Time Global Air Quality Display November 5, 2014

Warning – Real Time Global Air Quality Display is an installation of ambient display that receives data from the internet about the air quality in 30 cities in 5 continents. The installation of these data is dynamically displayed on a screen and a physical structure through a lighting system (LED) located in a public space. The motivations for this project are digital aesthetics of climate change […]


2011 – Tape Recorders: Time-Measuring Tapes November 15, 2014

Rows of motorised measuring tapes record the amount of time that visitors stay in the installation. As a computerised tracking system detects the presence of a person, the closest measuring tape starts to project upwards. When the tape reaches around 3 meters high it crashes and recoils back. Each hour, the system prints the total number of minutes spent by the […]

Added by Karine Charbonneau. Category: Interactive installation. Tags: , ,

2011 – Stephen Barrass’ Physical Data Sonifications December 13, 2014

Physical representations of data can target other senses than vision or touch. Stephen Barrass, one of the inventors of sonification in the late 90s and now at the University of Canberra, started to explore physical sonifications in 2011. He calls this principle Acoustic Sonification: Acoustic Sonifications are physical objects designed to make sounds that convey useful information about a dataset of some kind. Unlike other sonifications, they do […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Yvonne Jansen. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , , ,

2011 – Jose Duarte’s Handmade Visualization Toolkit December 13, 2014

Colombian designer Jose Duarte wants to bring the DIY concept to data visualization. Using ordinary materials like balloons, tape and rubber balls, he has experimented with various visualization techniques from area charts to bubble graphs and ven diagrams in diverse scenarios as business, art, street interventions and even astronomy. To help people build physical visualizations he designed a physical toolkit he calls the Handmade visualization toolkit. Sources: Maria Popova (2011) Analog […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2011 – Manually Animated Graph of Scientific Data January 8, 2015

Philadelphia-based multi-discipline artist Bradley Litwin built this physical chart that can be animated by turning a crank. It is the only manually-animated physical visualization we know of so far. It was commissionned by a pharmaceutical company, intended as an educational device for distributing to doctors. Bradley was kind enough to send us an image of the insides of the original prototype, "not quite as pretty as the final product", […]

Added by Yvonne Jansen & Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2011 – Blip: A Year of Travel April 28, 2015

In his experiments with visualizing data from Tripit to look back at his own (and other people's) travel, Cemre Güngör came up with a new system to create data sculptures from one's travels over time. This work is of a particular interest, in that it shows an excellent example of how a physical visualization design process unfolds, with many questions unique to physicalization add up to the challenge of […]

Added by Fanny Chevalier. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2011 – Sleep Patterns August 7, 2015

Laurie Frick's Pokey Red is a physical visualization of sleep data over a month. Frick makes an interesting use of the physical support: in her visualization, periods of sleep of a lesser interest (light sleep) are folded up, giving more importance to the periods of quality sleep (coloured rectangles), while remaining integral part of the visualization.  "Pokey Red" 12 in x 12 in, cut paper, watercolor and ink. […]

Added by Fanny Chevalier. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2011 – Ursus Wehrli’s Art of Clean Up December 3, 2016

Ursus Wehrli, a Swiss comedian and artist, is known for his parodic art project called "Tidying up Art", where he rearranges well-known paintings in an orderly fashion (see his 2003 book and his 2006 TED Talk). In 2011, he started a project called "The Art of Clean Up" where he rearranges everyday objects and people. Also see our other entries on physical visualizations created by rearrangement. Sources: […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2012 – General Motors’ 3D LEGO Visualizations June 19, 2012

LEGOs help business executives log and explore data. Sources: Mark Wilson (2012) How GM Is Saving Cash Using Legos As A Data Viz Tool. The Daily Drive (2012) GM Plays with Legos (Video).

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Fanny Chevalier. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , , ,

2012 – All Possible Photons: Steel Feynman Diagrams December 2, 2012

These are stainless steel sculptures of Feynman diagrams created by Edward Tufte. They are currently (opening Sep 12, 2012) exhibited at Edward Tufte's gallery in Chelsea. Source: Edward Tufte. All possible photons – The conceptual and cognitive art of feynman diagrams.

Added by Yvonne Jansen. Category: Uncertain. Tags:

2012 – Thesis LEGO Board January 30, 2013

A design exploration of LEGO-based physical visualizations for project management by educational scientist Daniel K. Schneider. Sources: Daniel K. Schneider (2012) Lego-compatible thesis project board. Edutech Wiki. Daniel K. Schneider (2015) Poster presentation from the EIAH'15 conference (the paper, the actual poster)

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2012 – Meshu.io: Data Jewellery you can Order Online February 1, 2013

A company lets you enter in cities you've been to and generates a physical mesh to order as a necklace, earrings, or cufflinks. Source: http://meshu.io/

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Moritz Stefaner. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2012 – Matthijs Klip’s Data Sculptures September 4, 2013

Left image: data sculpture by Dutch designer Matthijs Klip showing life expectancy of the Netherlands population. Each bar maps to an age; the bar's height represents life expectancy while its length represents the amount of people having that age. Right image: other designs by Matthijs Klip. Source: Matthijs Klip (2012) Physical Information Design.


2012 – Putting Physical Visualizations to the Test September 22, 2013

These physical bar charts, showing the evolution of country indicators over time, were used to conduct the first empirical study showing that physical visualizations can outperform their on-screen counterparts for data retrieval tasks. Sources: Yvonne Jansen, Pierre Dragicevic and Jean-Daniel Fekete (2013) Evaluating the Efficiency of Physical Visualizations. Also see Yvonne Jansen's PhD dissertation on Physical and Tangible Information Visualization (2014).

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: ,

2012 – Rearrangeable 3D Bar Chart September 22, 2013

A modular physical visualization like this rearrangeable 3D bar chart allows people to sort, filter, compare and examine data by direct physical manipulation. Sources: Yvonne Jansen and Pierre Dragicevic (2013) An Interaction Model for Visualizations Beyond the Desktop. Also see Yvonne Jansen's PhD dissertation on Physical and Tangible Information Visualization (2014)

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: ,

2012 – PARM: Static Terrain Models with Projection June 5, 2013

The PARM system is part of an ongoing research project at the University of Nottingham. A static physical relief model is augmented with top projection to display landscape details and to overlay with additional data visualizations. Sources: James Goulding's project page. Pristnall et al (2012). Projection Augmented Relief Models (PARM): Tangible Displays for Geographic Information.

Added by Yvonne Jansen, sent by Stuart Reeves. Category: Active physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2012 – Hypermatrix: Animated Matrix-Walls September 1, 2012

2012 Yeosu EXPO HYUNDAI MOTOR GROUP created by media artist group : Jonpasang. Hyper-Matrix is a kinetic landscape installation created for the Hyundai Motor Group Exhibition Pavilion in Korea, the 2012 Yeosu EXPO site. The installation consists of a specially made huge steel construction to support thousands of stepper motors that control 320x320mm cubes that project out of the internal facade of the building. […]

Added by Yvonne Jansen. Category: Enabling technology. Tags: ,

2012 – Emoto: Projection Augmented Heatmaps of Twitter Data November 24, 2012

The core of the install­a­tion is a phys­ical data sculp­ture consisting of 17 objects, each repres­enting all Tweets we have collected during one day of the Olympics. Mapped onto this phys­ical sculp­ture we have then projected indi­vidual heat maps for the most inter­esting themes we have iden­ti­fied while observing emoto during the Games. Users were able to navigate through these themes using an inter­active […]

Added by Yvonne Jansen, sent by Fanny Chevalier & Romain Vuillemot. Category: Active physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2012 – Dynamic Network Sculpture November 1, 2014

A physical space-time cube representation of cultural heritage data. Source: Florian Windhager, Eva Mayr. Cultural Heritage Cube: A conceptual framework for visual exhibition exploration. IV '12.

Added by Yvonne Jansen, sent by Florian Windhager & Benjamin Bach. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2012 – Large-Scale Drone Swarm November 1, 2014

Floating spheres again, but this time there is no wire. An outdoor demonstration of 49 quadrocopters in a synchronized motion, by Ars Electronica Futurelab and Ascending Technologies GmbH. Sources: The Blaze (2012) Also watch another demonstration involving 20 small quadrocopters indoors by the GRASP Lab at the University of Pennsylvania (2012).

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Enabling technology. Tags: ,

2012 – Chaotic Flow: Abstract Flow Visualization of Copenhagen Bike Traffic November 2, 2014

Biking is the transport form of choice in Copenhagen, Denmark. The city is equipped with generous bike lanes and the municipality put up counters at some check points to get a better estimate of the thousands of cyclists coming through every hour. Tobias Lukassen, Halfdan Hauch Jensen and Johan Bichel Lindegaard from Illutron Collaborative Interactive Art Studio used this data to create the above […]

Added by Yvonne Jansen. Category: Active physical visualization. Tags: ,

2012 – Pulse Drip: Visualize Heartbeats with a Water Hose November 15, 2014

Pulse Drip Interactive installation originally developed for Urdaibai Art 2012 in which the public can water the lawn at the Torre de Madariaga using a water hose with a heart rate sensor built-in. To participate, visitors take the hose wherever they want to water: by putting their index finger on a tiny sensor on the spray head, his or her pulse is […]

Added by Karine Charbonneau. Category: Uncertain. Tags: , ,

2012 – Slime Mold Imitates the United States Interstate System November 18, 2014

Can a slime mold solve the traveling salesman problem without a digital computer? From the article's abstract: The plasmodium phase of Physarum polycephalum is a champion amongst living creatures used in laboratory prototypes of future and emergent computing architectures. A wide range of problems from computational geometry and logic can be solved by this cellular slime mold. A typical way to perform a computation with the slime mold […]

Added by Jonathan Helfman & Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Uncertain. Tags: , , ,

2012 – Data Cuisine November 19, 2014

The left image is a map that shows the differences in alcohol consumption across Finland, as well as typical local food. The right image shows the number of immigrants in Finland by nationality (rice for the Chinese, salmon for the Swedish). Many other examples of edible physical visualizations can be found on the Data Cuisine web site.  Data Cuisine is a series of workshops organized by Moritz Stefaner and […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Romain DiVozzo. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , ,

2012 – Grand Old Party: Political Satire November 19, 2014

American designer Matthew Epler shows how to build physical visualizations out of silicone using 3D printing and mold casting. He also shows how to use them to make political statements. Source: Matthew Epler (2012) Grand Old Party (video here).

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Fanny Chevalier. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , , , , , ,

2012 – Google Eye: Radial Visualization of Page Visits November 19, 2014

During the Generator.x 3.0 workshop, interaction designer Andrej Boleslavský created a radial visualization of page visits where each day spans a specific angle of the ring, and the entire ring spans one year. Source: Andrej Boleslavský (2012) Google Eye.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Mathieu Le Goc. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2012 – Pulse: Tangible Line Graph November 23, 2014

Pulse is a tangible line graph. It is composed of a string whose position is changed with six servo motors. By tilting the device, one can change between three information feeds. Pulse was created by designers Jon McTaggert and Christian Ferrara. Source: Christian Ferrara and Jon McTaggert, cargocollective.com/Pulse

Added by Jennifer Payne. Category: Active physical visualization. Tags: ,

2012 – Poland Budget Presented with LEGO Bricks December 21, 2014

An area chart created with LEGO bricks. Each colour presents a single domain in the 2011 Polish budget. Source: Przemyslaw Biecek (2012) SmarterPoland.  

Added by Przemyslaw Biecek. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2012 – Bit Planner: LEGO calendar August 26, 2015

Vitamins studio created The Bit Planner, an elegant wall mounted time and resource planner made entirely of Lego bricks. In this tangible calendar, each gray row represents a month, and each gray rectangle represents a week, and everyone in the group has their own line in the calendar (see left image). Projects are associated to different colors, and each LEGO block corresponds to half a day spent working on […]


2012 – Point Cloud: A Dynamic Weather Sculpture March 19, 2016

James Leng’s ‘Point Cloud‘ consists in a 3D wire structure materializing real-time weather information by moving and undulating. The wire structure is articulated by pistons activating wheels to deform the surface according to data. The structure could be articulated for other types of data than weather forecast. This structure represents a first attempt to build a physical 3D weather forecast system. The speed, smoothness, and direction […]

Added by Jean Vanderdonckt. Category: Active physical visualization. Tags: ,

2012 – What made me May 22, 2017

An interactive public installation where visitors could engage by picking coloured strings corresponding to feelings, inspirations, thoughts or influences that make the person they are today, and link these strings to words on the wall to make a path visualizing associated concepts tied to each of these feelings, inspirations, thoughts and influences.  WHAT MADE ME was designed by Dorota Grabkowska and Kuba Kolec for the Birmingham Made Me Design Expo (15-22 June 2012) at the […]

Added by Fanny Chevalier. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2013 – Solid Statistics July 4, 2013

Left image: A 3D printed version of the "Forbes 2000" list showing the 240 largest companies, by Volker Schweisfurth. Market value is mapped to surface area, sales volume is mapped to volume, and the continent from which the company originates is mapped to color (America (blue), Europe (green), Asia (yellow)). The picture illustrates how a physical model of this 3D visualization gives a better […]

Added by Yvonne Jansen, sent by Volker Schweisfurth. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: ,

2013 – Network of the German Civil Code August 16, 2013

A room-filling visualization by Oliver Bieh-Zimmert (Visual Telling) that illustrates the patterns of references within the German civil code. Each red thread stands for a reference to another paragraph. Source: you can find more info and images on the visual telling website.

Added by Yvonne Jansen, sent by Pierre Dragicevic & Benjamin Bach. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: ,

2013 – NYC High School Dropouts July 15, 2013

Ben Kauffman and Sam Brenner created this visualization as part of the ITP program at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. It is a combination of a 3D-printed relief map of New York City with beads where each bead represents one school location. Each bead on top of the relief map is connected to a string below whose length indicates the number of students who dropped […]

Added by Yvonne Jansen, sent by Ben Kauffman. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: ,

2013 – Layered 2D Plots July 24, 2013

A series of stacked 2D plots showing changes in energy sources for different countries by PhD student Simon Stusak from University of Munich. All plots are cut from acrylic and hold together in one corner to facilitate alignment of the layers. The y-axis is mapped to countries, the x-axis to different energy sources, and the z-axis to time. Sources: Simon Stusak (2013) Physical Visualizations: An Exploration. […]

Added by Yvonne Jansen, sent by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2013 – Season in Review: iPad + Physical Charts Show Baseball Stats July 25, 2013

Baseball stats for an entire season created by Teehan+Lax labs as a combination of an interactive ipad app with an overlay of physical charts cut from acrylic. Depending on the current choice in the app, the edges of different charts get highlighted by the ipad. Source: Teehan+Lax labs & vimeo.

Added by Yvonne Jansen, sent by Samuel Huron. Category: Active physical visualization. Tags: , , , , , ,

2013 – SweatAtoms: Physical Activity Sculptures November 3, 2014

Rohit Ashok Khot is a PhD student at the Exertion Games Lab at RMIT University in Melbourne who studies how physical visualizations of self-logged physical activity data can enhance the experience of exercising and perhaps provide an incentive for exercising more. Sources: Khot et al (2013) SweatAtoms project page Khot et al (2014) Understanding Physical Activity through 3D Printed Material Artifacts  

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: ,

2013 – Quickly Authoring Physical Visualizations November 15, 2014

Rahul Bhargava animates workshops where he has participants quickly build physical visualizations using raw material. One of the workshop's goals is to develop people's visual literacy. Source: Rahul Bhargava (2013) Activities for Building Visual Literacy. datatherapy.wordpress.com.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Enabling technology. Tags: ,

2013 – Behavioral Landscapes November 16, 2014

A mixed team of artists and scientists at Pennsylvania State University devised a method to visualize human behavior, personality and emotions as 3D probability density functions. They then produced solid models using CNC milling. Sources: Studio|Lab (2013) Behavioral Landscapes. Nilam Ram, Michael Coccia, David Conroy, Amy Lorek, Brian Orland, Aaron Pincus, Martin Sliwinski, and Denis Gerstorf (2013) Behavioral Landscapes and Change in Behavioral Landscapes: A Multiple Time-Scale Density […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2013 – Line Charts of Cortisol Levels November 16, 2014

This data sculpture created by Nilam Ram from the Studio|Lab team at Penn State University shows the evolution of cortisol levels for 34 people after they experienced a stressful situation. Source: Nilam Ram (2013) Cortisol Data Sculpture.  


2013 – Robot Arranges 8,000 Nails Into a Data Sculpture of the Wind November 16, 2014

Student and interaction designer Charles Aweida used a foam board, a robot and lots of nails to build a physical visualization of a wind simulation. Sources: Charles Aweida (2013) An exploration in art + robotics representing wind through digital fabrication and the tangible. Via The Creator Project (2013) Data Sculpture Of The Wind Created Using A Robot And Lots Of Nails.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , ,

2013 – Very Pointy Elevation Map November 17, 2014

Toronto-based startup DataAppeal, which develops Web apps for 3D geo-spatial data visualization, created this very pointy stalagmite-looking elevation map of GTA Transit volume in Toronto. Sources: Andy Kirk (2013) 3D Printing Capabilility via DataAppeal Maps. Candice So (2013) Data visualizations go from flat to 3D.


2013 – Pneumatic Charts November 17, 2014

The Hive Big Data Think Tank at Palo Alto created a device for visualizing city data (power, waste, demographic, transportation) using blowers, microcontrollers and ping pongs balls. Sources: Lance Riedel, Christophe Briguet, Srinivas Doddi, Daniel Schwartz, Pashu Christensen, The Hive @City Camp Palo Alto for the National Day of Civic Hacking! Svetlana Sicular (2013) Now Open.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Benjamin Bach. Category: Active physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2013 – Data Sculpture of Chicken Inbreeding November 19, 2014

Ryo Sakai and Jan Aerts from the Bioinformatics/Data Visualization Lab at KULeuven created a data-driven sculpture representing inbreeding in a particular chicken. Each loop in the sculpture represents a chromosome. On the outside is a histogram of the heterozygosity of the DNA; the inside a histogram of the homozygosity in that region. These sculptures are part of the Cosmopolitan Chicken Project, and have been presented at the Art […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Jan Aerts. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , ,

2013 – Flip Books Rather Than Movies November 19, 2014

Cell biologist Jessica Polka discusses the benefits of making flip books to bring to scientific conferences: With the advent of smartphones and tablets, bringing movies to poster sessions is becoming more common than ever before. Even so, a low-tech flip book is still a lot more fun for visitors to use, and it's easier to pass around a large group. When the session's over, a […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Benjamin Bach. Category: Other. Tags: , ,

2013 – Motion Structures: Videos as Space-Time Objects November 19, 2014

Everardo Reyes-Garcia from Université Paris 13 turns video sequences into space-time shapes that can be 3D printed. The sculpture above represents 5 seconds of the opening theme of Game of Thrones. Also see our entry on Peter Jansen's sculptures. Source: Everardo Reyes-Garcia (2013) Motion Structures.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Aurélien Tabard. Category: Physical model. Tags: , , , ,

2013 – 3D Social Networks November 19, 2014

Jeff Hemsley from Syracuse University explains how to create solid models of social networks using the statistical package R and a 3D printer. 3D node-link diagrams have been explored for a while due to their potential benefits. One is that any node-link diagram can be laid out in 3D without any link crossing. Some studies have also shown that in some cases 3D node-link diagrams are […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Jeff Hemsley. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2013 – A Snow Chart of Mobility in Science December 21, 2014

A barchar made out of snow. Each bar is a percent of scientist after PhD that changed their university after thesis defence. Source: Przemyslaw Biecek (2013) SmarterPoland.  

Added by Przemyslaw Biecek. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: ,

2013 – Turning Facebook Connections into Data Sculptures January 14, 2015

An application created by SOFTlab and The Creators Project lets you turn your facebook social network into a beautiful crystal-like data sculpture. Sources: Kree8tiv via iohannan's pinterest. See the page on shapeways.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2013 – Loci: 3D Printed Sculptures of Your Flights January 15, 2015

Loci by Andrew Spitz lets you easily create physical 3d arc diagrams based on your past flights, and may be soon be available through an iphone app. Source: Andrew Spitz (2013) Loci – 3D Printed Sculptures of Your Flights.


2013 – Examined Life: Giving Shape to Activities January 15, 2015

Designer Alex Getty logged his daily activities for 40 days and turned them into data sculptures that look like colored paper origami. Source: Alex Getty (2013) The Examined Life

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2013 – Punchcard Economy: Data Knitting January 16, 2015

Punchcard Economy is a machine-knitted tapestry inspired by a 1856 banner advertising the Eight-hour day movement. The layer of visual noise shows today's departure from the eight-hour day philosophy. Working hours were collected from 116 participants, and each hour of work outside normal working hours was encoded as a color-inverted knit. A smaller version was made for the 2014 Data as Culture exhibition. Sources: Sam Meech (2013) Punchcard Economy. Explanation of the […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Adrian McEwen. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , ,

2013 – Programmable Matter Stars in a Movie February 18, 2015

Programmable matter with levitation capabilities is a key visual element in the 2013 movie Man of Steel. The (slowed down) segment above reveals what appears to be a 3D node-link diagram. This display technology is employed by an advanced civilization on Krypton and is referred to as Liquid Geometry or Liquid Geo by the movie team. Visual effects supervisor Dan Lemmon explains that it consists in: a bunch of silver beads that are suspended through […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Enabling technology. Tags: , , , ,

2013 – Population Density Emerging from Walls March 4, 2015

Two Yale architects created a room-sized physical visualization of world population density folded into itself: Hsiang and Mendis then turned that spatial visualization into a physical installation at the 2011 Chengdu Biennale in China. They modeled the population distribution of the entire world in a kind of inverted map that visitors could walk into, inside a 10-by-10-by-10 foot room, with North America on the ceiling, […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2013 – Walkable Age Pyramid April 3, 2015

A walkable age pyramid of the German population. It was part of an exhibition on demographics by Atelier Brückner. The sculpture gives an impression how the distribution of age groups shifted between 1950 and 2010. For example, it shows how two world wars took out certain age groups and the lasting effect of the "Pillenknick" (the drop of birth rates due to the wide availability of "the […]

Added by Yvonne Jansen. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2013 – Doug McCune’s Physical Maps July 12, 2015

Doug McCune is a programmer turned artist, and he is obsessed with maps. In 2013, he got bored with screens and started to build physical thematic maps. He specializes in turning "horrible data" such as murders and natural disasters into beautiful objects. Above on the left is an artwork titled "stalagmite crime" that shows elevation maps of crime rates in San Francisco: narcotics-related crimes (green), prostitution (blue) and vehicle theft (orange). Sources: Doug […]


2013 – Releases December 12, 2015

The New-York-based design agency HUSH crafted a piece of custom software that generates digital, three dimensional visual forms based on the unique timbres and tonalities of individual voices. They asked 100 people to share their feelings about the end of 2013, and the beginning of 2014, in the form of a spoken “release.” Using the forms generated by their software they then created and analog […]

Added by David Schwarz. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2013 – 3D Spherical Visualization with Aural Sonification March 21, 2016

Evan Atherton created a LED-based 3D ball rendering visual effects from sound while diffusing the music through small cones of the device.  This has been produced with a high-resolution 3D printer. LumiGeek developed an application to control the device, such as for playing music. Independently of that usage, the device could be envisioned to produce 3D spherical visualisation, a promising area according to the references below, both […]

Added by Jean Vanderdonckt. Category: Uncertain. Tags:

2013 – Temperature Scarves and Afghans January 4, 2017

On January 2013, Kristen Cooper Nutbrown from British Columbia had the idea of creating a temperature scarf by knitting one row every day using a color that encodes the temperature of the day. At the end of the year, the scarf visualized local temperature readings for the whole year. Soon after Kristen pitched her idea, Arlene Cline, also from British Columbia, started to create a temperature afghan (a blanket of knitted […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Andy South. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2014 – People Wood: Data Sculpture of Questionnaire Data November 2, 2014

Manor House Development Trust, a charitable social enterprise centred in Hackney, commissioned Something & Son to create a sculpture to take pride of place in the new Redmond Community Centre at Woodbury Down in North-East Hackney. Something & Son approached Inition for help creating a crowd-sourced data sculpture featuring a forest of over 400 3D-printed trees, each corresponding to an individual’s answers to an online […]


2014 – Sphere Packing: Visualize Composers’ Total Musical Production November 5, 2014

"Sphere Packing" is a series of 3D-printed spheres designed to concentrate the entire musical production of a composer in a single dense multi-channel device. The size of each sphere is directly proportional to how prolific the composer was, for example the sphere for Johann Sebastian Bach has 48 cm diameter and holds 1100 loudspeakers playing simultaneously Bach's 1100 different compositions, while the […]

Added by Karine Charbonneau. Category: Uncertain. Tags: , , ,

2014 – Light Painting Acceleration November 6, 2014

By mapping the output of a motion sensor to the hue of an LED strip (red for +2 G's along the Z-axis, and blue for -2) we can visualize the acceleration changes at the peaks and valleys, as the sensor is waved around. Source: Jake Ingman (@jingman), Data Painting

Added by Jake Ingman. Category: Other. Tags: , , , ,

2014 – Water Works: Maps of the San Francisco Water Infrastructure November 6, 2014

“Water Works” is a 3D data visualization and mapping of the water infrastructure of San Francisco. These consist of three large-scale 3D-printed sculptures, each generated by custom C++ code. The concept behind the project is to make visible a small portion of an invisible network of pipes underneath our feet.  The three physical data visualizations are: "San Francisco Cisterns", “Imaginary Drinking Hydrants” and "Sewer Works". "Sewer Works" uses […]


2014 – Blaue Blumen: Handcrafted Offline Data Visualization of Population Density November 7, 2014

Physical visualization of the population density of the world. Handcrafted with toothpicks and a styrofoam ball. Based on data taken from this map. Source: Ewa Tuteja, (http://tuteja.info/blaueblumen/) 

Added by Krasser Terror. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2014 – Building Visualizations with Tokens November 15, 2014

Samuel Huron and his collaborators show how anyone can build their own visualizations by assembling physical tokens. Sources: Samuel Huron, Sheelagh Carpendale, Alice Thudt, Anthony Tang, Michael Mauerer (2014) Constructive Visualization (Web Page) Samuel Huron, Yvonne Jansen and Sheelagh Carpendale (2014) Constructing Visual Representations: Investigating the Use of Tangible Tokens (Web page)


2014 – Pan-Anthem: Visualize Statistics Using National Anthems November 15, 2014

"Pan-Anthem" is an interactive sound installation where the national anthem of every country in the World plays back on a movable speaker that is magnetically attached to a large wall. The speakers are precisely arranged to visualize national statistics: population, GDP, area, number of women in parliament, GINI, year of independence, HDI and so on. For example, when the work is configured […]

Added by Karine Charbonneau. Category: Uncertain. Tags: , , ,

2014 – 888,246 Ceramic Poppies to Commemorate Fallen Soldiers in WW1 November 17, 2014

Don't miss the major art installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London, marking one hundred years since the first full day of Britain's involvement in the First World War. Created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins, with setting by stage designer Tom Piper, 888,246 ceramic poppies will progressively fill the Tower's famous moat over the summer. Each poppy represents a […]

Added by Yvonne Jansen, sent by Dan Hagon. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2014 – Data Crystals: Conglomerated World Stats November 19, 2014

During his residency at Autodesk, artist Scott Kildall created crystal-looking data sculptures by turning world data such as city populations into small cubes laid out on an Earth globe, then running a force-directed algorithm that conglomerates them into a monolithic structure that can be 3D-printed. The image above shows the 2500 nuclear detonations in recorded history, two of which (the black dots) are the bombs dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the only […]


2014 – Abyss Table: Scale Model of Deep Sea as Furniture November 19, 2014

This table created by the furniture design company Duffy London is a geological cross-section of the sea shown with layered wood and glass sheets. Designer Christopher Duffy got the idea while visiting a glass factory and noticing that glass sheets darken as more layers as added, as does the sea. You can have this piece of furniture at home for £9,800. Sources: Duffy London (2014) Abyss Table. Nina Azzarello […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Samuel Huron. Category: Physical model. Tags: , , , , ,

2014 – Dynamic Physical Charts Display Community Data November 19, 2014

David Sweeney from Microsoft Research designed these beautiful, mechanically driven, physical charts to communicate data to people living or working on Tenison Road in Cambridge, UK. The charts are part of a research project to explore what is the general public’s understanding of data and how it can be used to improve the life at street level – be that, better access to services, improving social relationships, […]

Added by Yvonne Jansen, sent by David Sweeney. Category: Active physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2014 – Cosmos: Carbon Exchange Captured in a Wooden Ball November 25, 2014

Artist duo Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt created this two-meter spherical wooden sculpture located in a forest in England, and representing the take up and loss of carbon dioxide from the forest trees across one year. Watching the video, I was somehow expecting this sphere to roll at some point, but it did not happen. Source: Semiconductor (2014) Cosmos.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Mathieu Le Goc. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , , ,

2014 – TiltWatch: Physical Tilt Indicator For Shipping Goods December 5, 2014

This ShockWatch tilt indicator can be attached to packages which must remain upright during transportation. If the packet is tilted to either side, the little balls move into the next chamber. The recipient can then later check the degree of tilting the packet experienced during transportation. The upper row indicates tilting to the left, the lower to the right. The ball in the round indicator moves in […]

Added by Yvonne Jansen, sent by Maarten Lambrechts. Category: Measuring instrument. Tags:

2014 – Data Clothing: Dresses Show Air Pollution December 13, 2014

Laura Perovich explored the concept of data-driven clothes as part of her Master thesis at the MIT Media Lab. The fashion dresses above show the concentrations of 100 chemical contaminants measured in the air of a particular household (left image). Chemicals are mapped to small squares and relative concentration is mapped to square size. Squares are repeated to create lace patterns (right image shows the concentration of several factory-related pollutants). […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Yvonne Jansen. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , , ,

2014 – Data Strings: Physical Parallel Coordinates January 14, 2015

During the SWAB International Contemporary Art Fair, the group of developers Domestic Data Streamers had the audience create a physical parallel coordinates visualization based on their demographic profile (social status, weight, etc.) and by answering a meaningless question on whether they choose a spoon or a fork. Source: Domestic Data Streamers. They have a range of other interesting physical visualization projects on their Web […]


2014 – Drip-By-Tweet: Each Vote is a Drop January 14, 2015

Team of developers Domestic Data Streamers created a real-time physical visualization of votes for a graphic design contest. A person can vote for a specific piece by sending a tweet, after which the machine releases a drop of yellow liquid and sends it to the corresponding test tube. Source: Domestic Data Streamers.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Active physical visualization. Tags: , , , ,

2014 – Physical Visual Sedimentation January 25, 2015

This visualization created by Jennifer Payne and inspired by Samuel Huron's visual sedimentation was created from gumballs, an acrylic (plexiglass) box and adjustable foamcore bin dividers. Huron's work is inspired by the physical process of sedimentation. The above figures illustrate a participatory representation of hours of sleep for a university population, with different colours of gumballs representing different groups present on a university campus (i.e. blue gumballs for graduate students, violet […]

Added by Jennifer Payne. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: ,

2014 – DIY Bertin Matrix February 7, 2015

This wooden matrix is a large-scale replica of Jacques Bertin's reorderable physical matrices. It shows a subset of the World Value Survey, a series of questionnaires that assess people's moral values across countries and years. This physical visualization is interactive as row and columns can be manipulated, promoting engagement and collaboration. This 18×20 matrix was built by Mathieu Le Goc in the Fablab Digscope with Charles Perin and Romain Di Vozzo, on the […]


2014 – District 5: Tube Charts Reveal Decline in Violence February 13, 2015

California-based artist Loren Madsen, a long-time data sculptor (see our 1995 entry and our interview with him), created an outdoor sculpture where steel tubes show falling crime rates across eight crime categories over 30 years. The sculpture stands in front of a police station and jail in Chicago City. Sources: ​Healther Schultz (2015) California Sculptor Completes Commissioned Piece. Image courtesy of Loren Madsen. Also see Steven Pinker's TED Talk on the topic.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Loren Madsen. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , ,

2014 – Data Storytelling with LEGOs April 27, 2015

LEGO blocks are convenient tools to progressively construct a physical visualization while unfolding a story. In the same vein as Hans Rosling's educational stories on data, Brookings fellows use LEGO bricks to explain societal concerns such as how much the U.S. tax system helps shrink the gap between extreme social classes1 and the chances for economic success of Americans born at the bottom of the economic ladder 2. Sources: How much does the tax […]

Added by Fanny Chevalier. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2014 – Silver Ring Shaped by DNA Profile April 28, 2015

PhD student Alireza Rezaeian designed a silver ring whose texture and shape is uniquely determined by the wearer's DNA profile. His article explains how data is mapped to physical form in a way that balances between legibility and aesthetics. Right image: bracelet-sized prototype. Also see our other entries on data jewellery. Source: Rezaeian, Alireza & Donovan, Jared (2014) Design of a tangible data visualization.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Simon Stusak. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2014 – x.pose: a Wearable Dynamic Data Sculpture October 14, 2015

x.pose is a dynamic wearable data sculpture that makes the collection of the wearer's location data visible in real-time in the physical world. From the project webpage: x.pose is a wearable data-driven sculpture that exposes a person's skin as a real-time reflection of the data that the wearer is producing. In the physical realm we can deliberately control which portions our bodies are exposed […]


2014 – Made By Numbers October 22, 2015

“Made By Numbers” represents a design methodology that translates data into form. The 5′ high sculpture is physical and interactive (sound, light). The form expresses the year-in-the-life of our agency, showing changes over time. The piece can also be “played” via a simple hand movement up or down, releasing 52 sonic chords and light effects – all tied to the data. Together, the sculpture […]

Added by David Schwarz. Category: Interactive installation

2014 – #Good vs. #Evil November 11, 2015

A race is going on between two Twitter hashtags, materialized by two cars. The blue car represents #Good, the red car represents #Evil. Source: Patrick Keller (2014). I&IC Workshop #3 at ECAL: output > “Botcaves” / Networked Data Objects.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Active physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2014 – Sound Bites April 19, 2016

Sound Bites is the result of an experimental design practice. Four days of 24/7 ambient sound recordings resulted in 128 4-second intimate sound loops. Fast Fourier Transform frequency analysis and geometrical operations transformed time, frequency, and amplitude into X, Y and Z dimensions, forming 3D sonic shapes. These ‘disco donuts’ were 3D printed into 128 sound objects. Vacuum molded they formed the base to […]


2014 – Rearrangeable Display of Ice Data April 23, 2016

This 3d data visualization, created by Johannes Jacubasch and Judith Weda, shows sea ice levels from 1979 to 2012. The years are plotted on one axis and the months on the other axis, while the height of the wooden pieces shows the level of sea ice. This data visualization can be opened up at any year or month to view the data from up close. If you break the Y-axis it […]


2014 – Lego Senate June 18, 2016

Built by Lance Ulanoff, this Lego representation tells the story of the 2014 US midterms. Red and blue Lego blocks represent the number of Democrat and Republican senate seats. The representation was updated over the evening of the election, as seats went to either Democratic or Republican candidates. Captions tell the story, indicating the time of seat wins and the names of senators. Source: Mashable, The Lego Senate: How the 2014 […]

Added by Jennifer Payne & Samuel Huron. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2014 – Mount Saint Helens – Pre and Post Eruption October 6, 2016

Mount Saint Helens is an active volcano located in the north-west of the United States. In an eruption in 1980, the upper section of the volcano was destroyed, reducing the peak's elevation from 2950 m to 2549 m. This two-part 3D printed model of Mount Saint Helens visualizes the dramatic change that occurred over a very short period of time.  The digital data for 3D printing and the white […]

Added by Juernjakob Dugge. Category: Physical model. Tags: , ,

2014 – WeatherWindow August 30, 2017

WeatherWindow – wall art that shows weather forecasts in a simple, ambient, and unobtrusive way. This old, wooden window is a decorative piece when it's off. Turn it on, and it becomes alive and connected to the Internet. Suddenly, this 8-paned window communicates to the world, fetches weather predictions, and lights up each pane with soothing colors communicating the weather outlook. Source: Tim Dye (2014) WeatherWindow – An IOT […]

Added by Tim Dye. Category: Uncertain. Tags: , , , , ,

2015 – Physical Customer Satisfaction Survey March 12, 2015

Participatory physical bar charts at the exit of the Antell cafeteria at the University of Helsinki. White beads represent statisfied customers, red beads are unsatisfied ones. Also see similar contraptions by Hans Haacke (1970), Lucy Kimbell (2006), and Jennifer Payne (2014). Source: Antell. Photo by Luana Micallef.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2015 – Data Necklace of Good Night SMS April 1, 2015

Paul Heinicker, a master student in interaction design at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam, created a data-driven necklace representing a long-distance relationship by sent "good night"-messages from him to his girlfriend. While visualising two years of message history, two diagonal opposing points of the rectangle constitute the starting points for both years. The ongoing sides in each case are coded to the days with and without […]

Added by Paul Heinicker. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , ,

2015 – Solid Model of Stellar Winds April 1, 2015

Scientists keep using solid models to help them better understand complex 3D data (here, an astrophysical simulation): They say this provides even more insight into what’s going on. “The ability to hold and inspect the 3-D printed models provides a new perspective on the WWIR’s geometry and an improved sense of the scale of the different structures,” they say. In particular, they say the model allows […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Jean-Daniel Fekete. Category: Physical model. Tags: , , , ,

2015 – Touching Air: Necklace Shows Air Pollution April 4, 2015

This necklace made by Stefanie Posavec and Miriam Quick shows one week of air quality data measured in the city of Sheffield. Each segment is a period of 6 hours, and its appearance conveys the concentration of particulate matter during that period of time. A low concentration yields a small, round, green segment. A high concentration yields a large, spiky, red segment. Also see our entry 2014 […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Maarten Lambrechts & Fanny Chevalier. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , ,

2015 – Sicherheit: Switzerland’s Money in Bar Charts April 28, 2015

This physical bar chart titled Sicherheit (Security) is part of the exhibition Geld – Jenseits von Gut und Böse (Money – Beyond Good and Evil) at the Stapferhaus in Lenzburg, Switzerland. It shows where Switzerland has its money from, where it spends it and how high Switzerland's debt is. Sources: Photo and most of the text above by Peter Gassner. Author of the piece currently unknown, as several studios have been involved […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Peter Gassner. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2015 – Interregional Merchandise Trade May 14, 2015

Trade data often show a network of money flows. Spreadsheets of such data are difficult to remember and hardly find their way to the long-term memory. The chosen intra- and intraregional WTO data of 2012 have been modeled and printed as a 3D data sculpture. It offers some fresh insights on flows, intraregional trade sizes, has some haptic quality and can be put on […]

Added by Volker Schweisfurth. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2015 – Paper Cut Terrain Models May 26, 2015

Paper models of terrain/landscape. Mapquest Elevation API is used to gather the elevation isolines and the paper layers are cut on a blade cutter machine. Source:  Peter's DIY Blog


2015 – Physical Weather Display June 5, 2015

Japanese Software engineer Ken Kawamoto invented the Tempescope, a device that displays weather forecasts or current weather physically. The Tempescope physically simulates weather forecasts via a wireless connection from a computer or a smartphone in real-time in order to get a better idea of what the actual weather is outside. Raining is simulated by water dripping down the box, temperature is represented by color-chaning LEDs and cloudiness […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic & Jean Vanderdonckt, sent by Lora Oehlberg. Category: Active physical visualization. Tags:

2015 – London Eye Chart: A 135m Tall Donut Chart June 26, 2015

One week before the UK general election of 2015, the design studio Bompas & Parr and Facebook turned the Ferris wheel of London into a giant donut chart of the political parties most discussed on Facebook. Blue stands for the Conservative Party and red stands for the Labour Party. Learn more. Sources: Bompas & Parr (2015) London Eye Chart. Photo by Bompas & Parr.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Loren Madsen. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2015 – Multivariate Beer June 27, 2015

Nathan Yau from flowingdata brewed four different types of beer based on county demographics. For example, he mapped population density to the total amount of hops, and race percentages to the type of hops used. He describes the process in detail on his web site, with R source code. The idea is reminiscent of Rohit Khot's TastyBeats shown at the CHI '14 conference, an installation that creates personalized energy drinks […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2015 – 3D Paper Model of Shrinking Aral Sea July 16, 2015

The Aral Sea in Uzbekistan, formerly one of the largest lakes in the world, has been drying up since the 1960s and is currently 10% its original size. Peter Vojtek made a 3-D paper model that shows the shrinkage — from 1957 on top, down to 2007. Each layer represents the surface outline during the corresponding year on the right. Vojtek also provides his paper template […]

Added by Fanny Chevalier. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2015 – Beeswax Maps Crafted by Bees August 11, 2015

Artist Ren Ri uses beeswax as his medium for making geographical maps and a bee colony as the builder. This original project results in beautiful data visualizations collaboratively crafted by a human and a bee colony! Here's how it works: Because a colony will follow the queen bee and build a hive based on the pheromones that she releases, Ri is able to move the queen such that […]

Added by Fanny Chevalier. Category: Physical model. Tags: , ,

2015 – Dan Gilbert’s TV Ads August 26, 2015

The famous psychology professor Dan Gilbert made a series of TV commercials for the insurance company Prudential, together with Ray Del Savio from Droga5 and Colin McConnell from Prudential. These TV commercials make a clever use of participatory physical visualizations to demonstrate and explain human biases in financial planning. Ribbon Experiment (left image): Dan Gilbert asks bystanders to estimate how much money they will need to retire. He then gives each […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: ,

2015 – Kohei Nakajima’s Computing Tentacle August 29, 2015

Kohei Nakajima and his colleagues argue that soft bodies are hard to control from a robotics perspective, but precisely because of their complex dynamics they can be used as information processing devices for solving hard computational problems. In a recent article they explain how they send inputs to a motor that wiggles a silicon tentacle, and read the system's output by sensing the arm's posture. I'm not entirely sure what's being calculated exactly, […]


2015 – Canadian Federal Election Explained with LEGOs October 29, 2015

On Canadian national news, Toronto-based artist and organiser Dave Meslin used LEGO bricks to illustrate the results of the 2015 federal election. He shows election results based on a first-past-the-post system, and compares them to a representation illustrating what results would look like if based on proportional representation. Source:  CBC News (2015) If Canada had proportional representation: Dave Meslin shows with Lego.

Added by Jennifer Payne. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2015 – U.S. Cost of Political Campaigns November 3, 2015

The New York Times has used stacks of Monopoly plastic hotels to explain what the cost of the U.S. political campains means in terms of households. Though closer to concrete scales than it is to data visualization (that usually presents data in a more structured manner), this representation made of physical pieces from the famous board game makes the message particularly compelling. According to the New York […]

Added by Fanny Chevalier. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , ,

2015 – Passim: Visual Reconceptualisation of Spatial Theories December 4, 2015

The master thesis of Paul Heinicker, Passim, visually reflects the humanistic discourse about space. The research of spatial theory led to four major notions how to think space from a sociopolitical perspective. The installation explores the relationship of these four spatial notions by projecting visualisations of geopolitical data from the Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research onto the physical sculpture. Eventually, different world-views are created, that show […]


2015 – Lake Brite: Ecological Data on a LED Cube January 9, 2016

Lake Brite is a data visualization project which allows the public to learn about Lake Champlain through a display of 7,500 LED’s. From temperature statistics to animal life, Lake Brite will encourage interaction and data literacy, connecting everyone around the common cause of Lake Champlain health. Sources: ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain; www.echovt.org/lakebrite

Added by Loren Madsen, sent by Melinda Haas. Category: Interactive installation

2015 – Inequalities Quipu February 26, 2016

This project is about the revival of the ancient Incan Quipu. This project is about a comparison of well-being in Latin America and top leading countries in Scandinavia as assessed by the OECD Better Life Index. It shows the inequalities between those two cultures as well as between men and women visualised with the help of the Incan recording devise – the quipu. […]

Added by Ewa Tuteja. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: ,

2015 – Create your own Sound Sculpture March 21, 2016

This Rhinoscript/Grasshopper procedure creates a 3D printing of an audio file by translating the waves into 3D curves instead of displaying them in 2D, thus elabling the user to "feel" the sound. Also see our other entries on sound. Source: 3D Sound representation

Added by Jean Vanderdonckt. Category: Enabling technology. Tags: ,

2015 – Jller: A Robot Rearranges Pebbles by Geologic Age May 20, 2016

Jller is a machine created by German artist Benjamin Maus and Czech artist Prokop Bartoníček that sorts pebbles from the German river Jller by their geologic age. To do this, Jller first analyzes an image of the stone it selects, extracting information like dominant color, color composition, lines, layers, patterns, grain, and surface texture. The machine then places the stones in alignment of age and type by sucking them […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Alice Thudt. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , ,

2015 – Participatory Representation of Happiness November 29, 2016

This 2015 physicalization was part of designer Stefan Sagmeister's exhibit on happiness. It contains a participatory representation of exhibition viewer's happiness, remiscent of Hans Haacke's MOMA poll (1970) and Lucy Kimball's participatory chart (2006). The units which make up the representation are gumballs, like Jennifer Payne's participatory representation (2014). Sources: Stefan Sagmeister (2015) The Happy Show Myles Constable (2015) The Happy Show asked "How Happy Are You? The results are in…

Added by Jennifer Payne. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags:

2015 – Dataseeds: Flying Data April 30, 2017

The dataseeds are a translation of data on ‘falls on and from stairs and steps, aged 50-89’. The data drives the surface area of the wing of the dataseed, which dictates the spin and falling speed of the data-object©. Source: Nick Dulake and Ian Gwilt (2015) Dataseeds – flying data

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Ian Gwilt. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2015 – Summer in the City May 3, 2017

The visualization explores the direct influence of weather and traffic volume on air pollution, comparing data of a 4-week period during summer 2015 in Lugano (Switzerland). Different colored laser cut plates fixed on wires represent daily data. As the wires are diagonally mounted on the structure, looking from different sides, they evidence either daily data or the evolution of the parameters. Source: Carola Bartsch […]


2015 – U.S. Unemployment Rate 1948-2015 May 24, 2017

Visual journalist Jon Keegan created this quick chart using U.S. unemployment rate starting from January 1948 (the first year that the U.S. started to record the number) through the end October 2015. The long axis represents years from 1948-2015, and each column is made of of 12 chips, each representing one month's unemployment rate figure. The height of each chip represents the rate for that month. […]


2015 – Life in Clay: Sharing Memories through Data Pottery September 3, 2017

Alice Thudt, a PhD student in Computational Media Design, crafts pieces of pottery that embody data about moments she shared with her loved ones. Left image (2015): cereal bowls showing Skype-call history between Alice and her parents. On the front bowl, each line represents a day where they skyped. On the other bowl, each dot represents 10 min of call time. She offered a bowl as a present to […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , , ,

2016 – Central Park NYC Temperatures April 10, 2016

Seasonal plot of the monthly average temperature in Central Park NYC since 1869. The long axis is mapped to years, the other axis is mapped to months from January to December. Data sourced from the National Weather Service. Source: RoundTableRdDesign on shapeways.

Added by Kris Dawsey. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2016 – Podium: Physical Competition Monitor April 5, 2016

Podium is an internet connected device that uses real-time social data to show comparative rankings of a brand’s performance versus their competitors. Developed in a partnership between iSketchLab and TrackMaven, Podium is a physical device that pulls Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter data from airline brands and offers an snapshot overview of the brands' performance on social media. Sources: Podium

Added by Aurélien Tabard. Category: Active physical visualization. Tags: ,

2016 – Turning Weight into Scale May 13, 2016

This simple prop or analog interface by designer Chang Hee Lee is part of an art project titled "Three Studies of Synaesthesia", and studies how weight and scale could be associated with each other. The liquid between the two glass sheets immediately expands its surface according to the pressure it receives on the glass surface. The heavier the weight or pressure, the more the surface expands. Sources: via […]


2016 – Motus Forma: People’s Motions in a Shared Space May 22, 2016

Motus Forma is a data sculpture by Brian Allen and Stephanie Smith that aggregates 10 hours of people movements in the lobby space at Pier 9. The 1300+ motion paths are piled up according to time. Also see our other entries on temporal data. Sources: Autodesk (2016) Motus Forma Instructables (2016) Motus Forma Photo by Pierre Dragicevic

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2016 – FizViz: A Wall-Mounted Data Gauge June 12, 2016

Maker project by iot design shop of a clock-like physical visualization device. "The concept is that you'd hang a set of FizViz widgets in your office, workshop, or wherever you want to watch and share data that matters" Source: FizViz – Large Scale Physical Visualizations for your Stats! (video)

Added by Aurélien Tabard, sent by Romain Vuillemot. Category: Active physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2016 – Actuated Prism Map of Italy July 17, 2016

This actuated prism map was created by Alessandro Masserdotti in the OpenDot Fablab in Milan, Italy, for the SOD16 meeting and invites people explicitly to Touch That Data. OpenDot Fablab (Milan) project with Arduino and 3D printing visualizes regional statistics changing the height of each region. In the picture there's the building count from the regional extracts. Sources: Open streetmap wiki, 2016. Video from a demo at OSMIT […]

Added by Yvonne Jansen, sent by Jason Dykes. Category: Active physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2016 – Housing Prices Ripping San Francisco Apart August 19, 2016

This data sculpture depicts a map of housing prices in San Francisco. It’s a map of the city, torn at the seams. The height of each area represents the average price per square foot for recent home sales. Where neighboring areas are close in value they are connected, but if neighboring areas are too far from each other I allow them to split, tearing the […]


2016 – Dataponics: Human-Vegetal Play February 12, 2017

“Dataponics: Human-Vegetal Play” maps human physical activity measured by a Fitbit to the amount of light and water fed to a potted plant. Also, the system measures the moisture in the growing hydroponic medium (in this case, expanded clay) that surrounds the plant’s roots, and plays different internet radio stations accordingly.  Source: Cercos, R., Nash, A., Yuille, J., Goddard, W. (2016) Coupling quantified bodies: affective possibilities of self-quantification […]

Added by Robert Cercos. Category: Active physical visualization. Tags: ,

2016 – Cairn: Situated Data Collection and Analysis for Fab Labs August 30, 2017

Designed within the community of practice of a French FabLab, Cairn aims at understanding the variety of practices within FabLabs. Cairn explores tangible alternatives to questionnaires and other traditional evaluation techniques, and stresses aesthetic and affective dimensions to create an engaging experience. It invites Fablab visitors to reflect on their practices by materializing their activities using small colored woodentiles. Interacting individually with Cairn, people contribute to […]

Added by Pauline Gourlet. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , ,

2017 – Hand-Crafted Magazine Infographics April 30, 2017

Infographic designers at the National Geographic crafted a 3D physical visualization out of paper and colored cardboard in order to prepare a 2D infographic. Also see our entry on IBM's cosmograph. Source: Alberto Lucas López (2017) Handmade #dataviz (tweet).

Added by Aurélien Tabard & Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2017 – EuroGums: Edible Population Pyramids May 23, 2017

Eurogums are edible population pyramids of the 28 EU member countries. Whereas 27 countries taste cherry-sweet, the UK Eurogum is rather sour, due to the referendum and Brexit. Also see our other entries on data-driven food. Source: meikl3D

Added by Michael Stanka. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , ,

2017 – Wearable Self May 31, 2017

Wearable Self is a collection of data jewelry which is Jiyeon Kang's master's thesis project at Parsons School of Design. South Korean designer Jiyeon Kang transformed a year of self-tracking data (e.g. daily steps) gathered by Fitbit and iPhone Health into personalized fashion items that can hold and wear. Through laser cut and 3d printing with different materials, the designer creates customizable fashion items generated by users' self-data, […]


2017 – Coral Reefs August 30, 2017

This data sculpture made by three design students at the datafossil #3 workshop depicts the destruction of Australian coral reef since 1985 (in orange) together with the rise of ocean temperature (in gray). The Great Barrier Reef has been losing more and more of its area since the last 27 years. One of the biggest cause is coral bleaching due to global warming and more exactly to the rise of […]

Added by Alizée Parry & Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization. Tags: , , , ,

2017 – Damião’s Dataphys Project August 30, 2017

A project that communicates information in a beautiful and unusual way. Using simple features, Evandro Damião a data intelligence professional from Brazil creates a project that allows even blind people to interact with graphics through audio, braille, acrylic and a lot of creativity. Visualization and physicalization are not the secrets to communicating data, they are only some aspects that must be transcended. Source: Evandro Damião […]

Added by Evandro Damião Barbosa. Category: Active physical visualization. Tags: , ,

2025 – Digitally-Fabricated Visualizations of the Future November 19, 2014

These images have nothing to do with physical visualizations: they are not data-driven but abstract, and they are not even physical but instead photo-realistic computer-generated images. However, these images from digital artist Lee Griggs give an idea of what physical visualizations may look like in the near future once we overcome the limitations of today's digital fabrication technology: they will be visually and haptically elaborate, colorful, rich, and beautiful. Make […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic, sent by Benjamin Bach. Category: Enabling technology. Tags:

2033 – Cetonia: Drone Swarm Visualizations November 26, 2014

As part of the VIS'14 Workshop Death of the Desktop, infovis researcher Wesley Willett imagines how nano drone swarms may be used in 2033 both to capture and visualize data directly in the real world: At barely 1.5 centimeters across, each Cetonia scarab is a marvel of precision engineering. Designed from the ground up for agile flight, their integrated hydrogen chambers and […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Enabling technology. Tags: ,

2060 – Programmable Matter November 19, 2014

In 1965 Ivan Sutherland already mentioned programmable matter as the ultimate computer display: The ultimate display would, of course, be a room within which the computer can control the existence of matter. A chair displayed in such a room would be good enough to sit in. Handcuffs displayed in such a room would be confining, and a bullet displayed in such a room would […]

Added by Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Enabling technology. Tags: , , ,