Plug-and-Play Macroscopes: Modular Hardware and Software Platforms that Render Data into Insights


October 17, 2015

Meeting Place:

Association of Science Technology Centers Conference
04:30 PM - 05:45 PM
Montreal, Canada

Session Summary:

This session brings together researchers and practitioners from university and science museum settings who conduct research and development on modular hardware and software platforms. Specifically, it will feature talks and discussions on the use of plug-and-play platforms for the analysis and visualization of sensor, social media, and other datasets.

Session Description:

Just like the microscope and telescope help us see and understand things too small or too distant, macroscopes let us observe what is at once too complex for the human eye and mind to comprehend, helping us to detect patterns, trends, and outliers while granting access to myriad details (de Rosney, 1975). Plug-and-play macroscopes (Borner, 2011) are built from modular open-source software and hardware; they read data from social media, news, or data.gov sites but also from sensor hardware; the macroscope software analyzes and layouts this data; and outputs interactive visualizations, 3D prints, etc. Most importantly, macroscopes make data acquisition, processing, mining, and visualization transparent to users—empowering them to create and analyzing the data that they visualize. This session will feature talks and demonstrations by leading experts as well as discussions on the topics of modular hardware kits and software platforms; relatable interfaces built atop open-source hardware (Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, etc.); plug-and-play data mining and visualization algorithms that make it easy to render data into insights; and different approaches to introduce macroscopes to general audiences. Börner & Polley (2014) Visual Insights. The MIT Press.

Session Leader:

Katy Börner
Indiana University
Director, Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center
Bloomington IN


Daniel Halsey
Indiana University
Senior Software Engineer/Research Analyst
Bloomington IN
Bryan Kennedy
Science Museum of Minnesota
Exhibit Developer
St. Paul MN
Michael Zentner
Purdue University
Senior Research Scientist
West Lafayette IL
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