List of Physical Visualizations
and Related Artifacts

1700 – Wearable Abacus from the Qing Dynasty

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 abacus is task-specific, it does not give rise to what we generally mean by "wearable […]

Added by: Samuel Huron. Category: Other  Tags: abacus, computing, wearables

1753 – Barbeu-Dubourg's Machine Chronologique

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. […]

Added by: Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Other  Tags: mechanical interaction, temporal data, timeline

2005 – Tactile Rubik’s Cubes

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: laser-cut, rearrangeable, tactile

2013 – Flip Books Rather Than Movies

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 flip book can live at your bench indefinitely, ready for visitors with no boot time. Source: Jessica Polka (2013) Hands […]

Added by: Pierre Dragicevic, sent by: Benjamin Bach. Category: Other  Tags: animation, flip book, science

2014 – Light Painting Acceleration

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: acceleration, arduino, light, light painting, pinoccio

2015 – Quantum of Peace: Numerical Display Made with Bullets

"Quantum of Peace" by Miara Pokoju is an interactive installation and kinetic infosculpture commissioned by the Warsaw Rising Museum for the celebrations of the 71st anniversary of Warsaw Rising and the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII in Europe. The installation utilised thousands of bullet shells, 70 pneumatic actuators, hundreds of neodimium magnets and 5 industrial-grade transmission belts to present series of numbers conveying WWII and Warsaw Rising facts. Source: […]

Added by: Krzysztof Golinski. Category: Other  Tags: bullets, magnets, numerical display, war, WWII

2018 – Spanish Dictionary Cemetery

1914-2014 consists of a comparison between the Spanish official Dictionary from the year 1914 and the one from 2014. The result of this comparison is a list of all the words which are not included in the last edition of the dictionary any longer. Every word is displayed on a single page in order to show the number of lost words physically. This visualization is materialised in an artist book with the format of a dictionary divided in two volumes. The size of the book already shows us the amount […]

Added by: Marta PCampos. Category: Other  Tags: artist's book, language, lost words