Data Lamps: Data Sculpture for the Quantified Self – A study into physical ambient data visualisation and time-based activity tracking
This research project was the final dissertation thesis of my MSc in HCI at UCL, which I framed into a design research work. This project was awarded the UCLIC Best Dissertation Prize 2015/2016 and I am currently writing a paper with academics from UCL and Lancaster University.
(1) Activities (2) Time-tracking of activity (3) The data is displayed into the environment and invites exploration.
Time tracking of activities is a common data-collection habit Quantified Selfers engage for improving aspects of their life, however, they struggle engaging and understanding their data due to ineffective tools for visualisation. Studies have identified that Physical Ambient Data Visualisations are effective for this, specially Data Sculptures, which are data embedded objects with functional and aesthetic qualities that allow awareness, engagement, exploration and data sense-making for a wide range of users.
Sketches during ideation stage. (1) Time tracking of on offline activity (2) Data output through Data Sculpture.
Prototyping of manual activity tracking device and Data Lamp. The tracker is designed to log in and store quantitative data to analyse.
This thesis explores the experience of non-expert Quantified Selfers utilising Data Sculptures for awareness of their daily activities, their usage patterns and how they appropriate them. Two Data Sculptures prototypes were designed for displaying self-quantified information utilising light, colours and allowed exploration and comparison of its data. A one-week In The Wild study was conducted in a household in London with two non-expert Quantified Selfers using two Data Sculptures and activity trackers for collection of time-based activities.
Pictures of participant 1 and 2 Lamps appropriation.
The participants collected more than 60 hours of data, 50% productivity related, the Data Sculptures were integrated into the environment, utilised individually as daily decision taking and data awareness tools. Yet, participants preferred self-comparison of data and had opposite views regarding time-based data visualisation and more importantly, concerns regarding Data Sculptures’ appropriation, as they could become invasive in households.
This video is a very rough demo of the interactive features of the lamp.