Advisors: Zach Pino, Tomoko Ichikawa
Duration: 4 Months (Spring 2016)
As the Earth shrinks due to the effects of digital communication and globalization, designers' ability to access data about their potential users increases dramatically. The visualization of this information offers designers a valuable opportunity to identify patterns, test hypotheses, and arrive at new and unexpected insights. I was challenged to pick a freely available spatial data and use advanced software tools in order to visualize a persuasive story about a current, topical issue.
The result is an interactive 2D visualization and 3D printed physical data objects of 3D printing world. The 2D visualization shows where different 3D objects were born, where they were 3D printed, where they got `remixed` into different objects and finally where the remixes were 3D printed. The 3D data object has a world map projected on it and has deformations which shows where that particular object got 3D printed in the world.
Before starting the project, I got exposed to inspirational examples of cartography and spatial data visualizations, which really helped me to enter this unfamilar domain and got me excited to work on this project.
1- Piri Reis Map of 1513
2- John Ogilby, The Road from London to the City of Bristol 1675
I conducted a quick research to see what kind of datasets are available around the topic of 3D printing and quickly realized Thingiverse, one of the most popular 3D printing portals offers a comprehensive API that I can easily use.
Through the Thingiverse API, I can easily get the data of:
After understanding what kind of data I have access to, I sketched out some quick ideas and later iterated on them with software tools. At this point I did not use any real data, I just focused on designing the visualization.
I used various materials like play-doh, styrofoam, cardboard and plastic sheets to create visualization mock-ups to quickly test and iterate my 3D visualization ideas.
I have imported a dataset to Grasshopper, an algorithmic modeling tool for Rhino, and experimented in 3D.
The 2D visualization shows the paths of digital 3D objects travelling around the world and getting their original or remixed physical shapes.
Feel free to interact with the visualization below.
I used the same dataset to map the lattitute and longitude data of the makes as polar points on the object and deformed the shape by moving those points from centroid of the object to outside. These objects contain their own 3D printing data on them. The map texture is used to augment the readability of the visualization.
With this method, every digital 3d file can be visualized and 3d printed to show its digital connections with the physical world.
I selected two of the most made objects on Thingiverse and 3D printed them using full color sandstone for the final presentation.
Below is the Grasshopper definition I used to create these data objects. By only importing different .stl files and Lat/Long data, it is possible to create data objects of every single 3D model that exists on Thingiverse platform.
This was a project that I was able to learn a lot about data visualization tools and designers important role in data vizualization space. I was able to use quick prototypes (sketches, 3D mockups) to get quick feedback and build up on my ideas swiftly.
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© 2019 Burak Aktas