|Information Visualization (iV) by Anna Ursyn and Ebad Banissi|
Notes about the 10th iV ’06 International Conference, London, England
Anna Ursyn, University of Northern Colorado
Ebad Banissi, VGRU, London South Bank University, UK
Selected themes of this paper include visual literacy, visual intelligence, and present some methods of information visualization, emerging scientific disciplines regarding visualization, and integrative art-science collaborative projects. The majority of the information presented in the paper has been drawn from the Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Information Visualization, Edited by E. Banissi, R. A. Burkhard, A. Ursyn, J. J. Zhang, M. Bannatyne, C. Maple, A. J. Cowell, G. Y. Tian, & M. Hou, IEEE Computer Society, Los Alamitos, CA, Washington, Tokyo.
There are several reasons for paying attention to the advances in information visualization techniques:
– Media for communication and learning are more and more visual.
– There is more and more data to organize.
– Aesthetics of visualization improves its effectiveness.
– Visual materials for teaching, learning, and communicating allow addressing students’ preferences and learning styles. A growing number of visuals in learning and teaching resources are delivered as the Web-based digital images, interactive multimedia materials, and also as PowerPoint presentations, prints and transparencies.
The focal points of the iV 06 Conference were information visualization and knowledge visualization. Information Visualization (iV) can be defined as the use of interactive visual representations of abstract data to amplify cognition (Shneiderman, 1996), in contrast with scientific visualization. Knowledge Visualization examines the use of visual representations to improve the creation and transfer of knowledge between people (Eppler and Burkhard, 2004), and concentrates on the recipients, other types of knowledge, and on the process of communicating different visual formats. Knowledge maps is a subset of knowledge visualization.
Notes from the Conference refer to a small part of materials provided by the conference contributors. Selected themes involve visual literacy, visual intelligence, present some methods of information visualization and emerging scientific disciplines regarding visualization. Integrative art-science collaborative projects made an important part and were discussed at the iV Conference. Symposium and Digital Art Gallery (D-Art) complemented the Conference.
1. Visual literacy, visual intelligence
1.1. Visual literacy is a characteristic that depends upon visual intelligence. Since the eighties it became apparent that average IQ scores, especially those tested with non-verbal IQ tests, have been increasing steadily, particularly in industrialized countries. Recently collected data suggest that the so-called “Flynn Effect” – the successive increase in scores with each new birth cohort – is continuing (Raven, 2005). Visual processing capabilities of students are increasing even more with playing up-to-date computer games that simulate 3D worlds.
The growing visual literacy creates a demand for more advanced and very up-to-date knowledge visualizations. At the same time, visual literacy is a prerequisite and an essential step for producing more efficient knowledge visualizations (Lengler, 2006).
In education, the level of digital art literacy depends on the balance between the components of traditional art education (theory, art history, critique and studio work) and the software and technological literacy. Visualizations such as animations improve understanding of systems and processes that change over time.
1.2. Visual intelligence tests. The understanding of visual intelligence is essential to advance visual science. Non-verbal intelligence tests that tell about visual abilities have been applied for more than 80 years with high reliability and internal consistency (Rezaei and Katz, 2004). Raven's Progressive Matrices (RPM) is a widely used test of reasoning. In each test item, one is asked to find the missing part required to complete a pattern. Each set of items gets progressively harder, requiring greater cognitive capacity to encode and analyze (Lengler, 2006).
According to the Berlin model (BIS-4, Bucik and Neubauer, 1996), a bimodal structure of the measurable general intelligence factor G measures working memory capacity. The model includes four Operations components (processing speed, memory, creativity, processing capacity), and three Contents components (verbal, numerical, spatial-figurative ability). The model was constructed with the use of cluster and factor analysis out of 2,000 tests. Visual competencies can be evaluated with relevant tests, such as processing speed, memorization, figural analogy, continuation, image rotation, pictorial reasoning, and other tests.
Lengler (2006) lists the vision competencies as the abilities to:
– Speedily locate, identify and assess patterns
– Speedily assign complex shapes to visual categories
– Structure, store, and recall objects and paths in maps
– Reconfigure shapes into new objects
– Express concepts with visual means in a wide variety of ways
– Construct meaning by integrating different associated visual messages
– Imagine and rotate objects in 3D space
– Simulate the future behavior of objects, based on their pattern of change in a given time period
– Deduce the rules which govern patterns.
2. Methods of Visualization
Ralph Lengler & Martin J. Eppler (2007) described the visualization field and then compiled visualization methods in order to develop a systematic overview based on the logic, look, and use of the periodic table of elements. They list visualization methods as follows:
• Data Visualization includes standard quantitative formats such as Pie Charts, Area Charts or Line Graphs. They are visual representations of quantitative data in schematic form; they are all-purpose, mainly used for getting an overview of data.
• Information Visualization, such as semantic networks or treemaps, is defined as the use of interactive visual representations of data to amplify cognition. This means that the data is transformed into an image; it is mapped to screen space. Users can change the image as they proceed working with it.
• Concept Visualization, like a concept map or a Gantt chart (a graphical representation of the duration of a task) includes methods to elaborate qualitative concepts, ideas, plans, and analyses through the help of rule-guided mapping procedures. In Concept Visualization knowledge is usually presented in a 2-D graphical display where concepts (usually represented within boxes or circles) are connected by directed arcs encoding brief relationships between pairs of concepts.
• Metaphor Visualization, like metro map or story template are effective and simple templates to convey complex insights. Visual metaphors fulfill a dual function: first, they position information graphically to organize and structure it, and second, they convey an insight about the represented information through the key characteristics of the metaphor that is employed.
• Strategy Visualization, like a Strategy Canvas or technology roadmap is defined as the systematic use of complementary visual representations to improve the analysis, development, formulation, communication, and implementation of strategies in organizations.
• Compound Visualization consists of several of the aforementioned formats. They can be complex knowledge maps that contain diagrammatic and metaphoric elements, conceptual cartoons with quantitative charts, or wall sized infomurals.
3. Emerging scientific disciplines regarding visualization
3.1. Visual science
Visual thinking, abstract thinking, cognitive thinking, and developments in imaging techniques have combined into visual science – the use of visual thinking to understand complex information and transfer knowledge through visualization. Several disciplines listed below are growing as a result of the developments in the visual science.
3.2. Visualization Science
While visualization techniques become better and better, visualization is becoming a new scientific discipline (Burkhard, 2006). Visualization Science as a scientific discipline will possibly be established by 2010. For this purpose, researchers need to agree on visualization research and research goals. As for now, a big picture, shared frameworks, models, definitions, and goals are missing, there are many different classifications of data types and their representations, and the research fields are specialized and isolated. The benefit of an established discipline for non-visualization experts is both in teaching and research. Theoretical foundations will allow establishing visual basics in schools, using visualization techniques in teaching, and establishing bachelor and master studies in visualization science (Burkhard, 2006).
3.3. Digital design science
Design aims to manage complexity and is typically concerned with creating things that people want (Lang, 2006). Design science is an approach to find a design method as a pattern of work that is independent of the discipline and offers a way for solving problems. Understandings and definitions of design as a process of creating artifacts and systems vary across disciplines and there is no universally valid definition of concept design. To gain understanding of design across disciplines, the Competence Center for Digital Design & Modeling, a multidisciplinary organization consisting of 25 research groups from 11 departments, observe and structure a set of principles and patterns common to all involved disciplines, namely architecture, engineering, management, and nature. By finding synergies arising from different disciplines, researchers aim at formulating the domain-independent design axioms that foster the understanding of the fundamentals and principles of design. Knowledge visualization techniques allow achieving the interdisciplinary transfer of knowledge among various disciplines, about topics that include: modeling & simulation, design principles and criteria, inverse design, self-design, large datasets, interaction, systems design, optimization, and statistics (Lang, 2006).
In electronic applications, iconography relies upon conventions and/or coded visual language of common understanding, while the graphical user interface (GUI) contains information on many levels of visualization. Users of electronic devices interact with icons, the smallest graphic elements on the screen (for example, of the computer) that carry information. The simple, less complicated icons that impose lesser cognitive load are understood easier, faster, and thus picked up first. Designers need to be concerned about clarity of information in software design and easiness to isolate and interpret the results at all levels of information visualization, from icons to the user-interface in general, especially in specialized applications, such as medical/surgical (Skogen, 2006).
As a design practice, landscape architecture is heavily dependent on visualizations. Visualizations of landscapes must include dynamic parameters; therefore video is a tool for visualizing the landscape perception. An analytical grid serves for the evaluation of video from the vantage point of the slowest traveler, the pedestrian. Three case studies for the integration of video into the practice of landscape architecture describe how video may be used to understand the specific situation of a walking perceiver (Girot and Truniger, 2006).
3.4. Information visualization
Information visualization is the use of computer supported, interactive, sensory representations, typically visual, of abstract data to reinforce cognition. Shneiderman describes seven data types: one-, two-, three-dimensional data, temporal and multi-dimensional data, tree and network data. He also lists seven tasks in information visualization: overview, zoom, filter, details-on-demand, relate, history, and extracts (Shneiderman, 1996). Information design is the visual design and presentation of information or novel visual language for visual communication (Burkhard, 2006).
Text visualization means converting textual information into graphical representations that can be processed visually rather than read, so users can see information without having to read the information. Document surrogates consist summary information, attributes, and other meta-data about a document in the search result. HotMap, a meta-search system that retrieves document surrogates from a Google API, presents web search results via inspection of visual representations and via the nested sorting (Hoeber and Yang, 2006).
Text-based metadata is good for searching but not for browsing. Different people see different things in an image and organize a collection in different ways. Existing image database descriptors are textual and image-based search facilities are highly specialized. Some semantic spatial visualization schemas make both searching and browsing accessible to the user in a single interface. A search on Amazon.com returns product, based on an averaging of how users navigate the database. Different people organize data in diverse ways. However, Wyeld and Colomb (2006) find some similarity across groups of users regardless of their reasoning. They visualize a set of images using traditional methods and the Amazon.com method, and thus provide an enhancement to current database visualization, searching, and browsing facilities.
Digital simulation, prototyping, and modeling tools are seen as the new means of production, as they affect the practices of designers, engineers, and managers (Coopmans and Whyte, 2006). However, further research is needed about the relationship between digital models as means (ideas, initiatives, and potential) and as ends (actual use and practice), because the availability of new technology does not automatically change the ideas about practice.
3.5. Visual Analytics
Huge data sets have often millions of records that come from various different sources. Visual analytics allows finding interesting patterns in databases, and thus changing data into information. New methods for visualizing graphs allow a visual analytics – a combination of computational and visual methods in exploration process (Schulz and Schumann, 2006). Research groups worldwide now actively pursue visual analytics (VA), a science of analytical reasoning facilitated by interactive visual interfaces and innovative visualization (often as geospatial visualization). VA builds a bridge between the advantages of both human perception and computer science technologies. Visual analytics requires interdisciplinary science beyond traditional scientific and information visualization to include statistics, data mining, knowledge and discovery technologies, cognitive science and human-computer interaction, production and presentation, and more (Mikael Jern et al., 2006).
Visual analytics that changes information overload into an opportunity, focuses on massive and dynamic volumes of information that are diverse in character or content, and integrates human judgment in the analysis process by means of visual representations and interaction techniques. Visual analytics mantra has been presented as: Analyze first – Show the important – Zoom, filter, and analyze further – Details-on-demand (Keim et al., 2006).
A tool called GeoAnalytics, based on the principles behind VA, serves to explore time variant and multivariate attributes simultaneously including a spatial dimension. Multivariate attribute dynamic queries can express simultaneously queries involving time varying spatial data. The sense of immediacy and speed-of- thought interaction helps users stay focused on their work and shortens their time to enlightenment (Jern and Franzén, 2006).
3.6. Knowledge visualization
According to Burkhard’s definition, knowledge visualization examines the use of visual representations to improve the transfer and creation of knowledge between at least two persons (Burkhard, 2004). Knowledge visualization research aims at integrating methods from different fields such as information design, information visualization, communication science, humanities, social sciences, visual perception, and knowledge management (Lang, 2006).
Knowledge domain visualization (KDViz) involves creating maps that present parts of information specific to a selected field: this process includes collection of raw data, selection of the type of items, extraction of information, calculation of similarities between items, positioning and visualizing them in a low-dimensional space (van Eck et al., 2006). It may entail analyzing citations and co-citations of the relevant literature and mapping of the knowledge domain.
Several approaches have been developed to analyze and map a scientific discipline or articles on a specific research topic. Literature Knowledge Domain Visualizations assist users in extracting and interpreting interesting patterns and needs of researchers as they work with their literature. Also, studies are conducted about user requirements for tools enabling interactive metaphoric visualization of large interrelated data, with personalization represented as part of the tool (Faisal et al., 2006).
Visualization of knowledge domain can be achieved with a Torque Game Engine serving as an information interface (Pumpa and Wyeld, 2006). In a Digital Songlines project, a multi-dimensional database has been served in a 3D game environment to show contextualized nonlinear stories of Australian Aboriginal people with the meaning dependent on traditional landscapes and knowledge practices. In user’s experience that is both collaborative and performative, the storyworld unfolds real-time narratives involving Elders and the ancestral spirits of the landscape and supports narratives about land ownership issues, spiritual knowledge, and historic and oral stories.
Methods for visualizing graphs include 2D- and 3D-graph layouts that present hierarchy representations or network representations (Schulz and Schumann, 2006). Visualization methods for showing hierarchy include the explicit and implicit methods. They may be presented in axes-oriented or radial layouts with concentric circles. The explicit methods display the edges between the elements of hierarchy as a node-link-representation that can be shown as an organization chart. The implicit (space filling) techniques use abstract representations of nodes (such as lines, boxes, circles, etc.) and their relations as an arrangement in space that can be shown as an icicle plot, treemap, and tree rings. Network representations are directed (for example, with arrowheads added to the edges) or undirected, explicit or implicit. They are free, styled (for example, with a predefined scheme: circular or grid), or fixed (mostly for geospatial visualizations). User preferences are a main aspect in method evaluation, for example, a node-link representation of a road network would be better for a traveler to navigate it, while a matrix-based network visualization might serve better for the maintenance of the road. Graph visualizations ensure that searching for details can be performed without losing orientation within general network. The users require dynamic updates of the structure, often with dynamically changing hierarchy. The aesthetic constrains for a graph layout include minimal numbers of edge crossings, bends, small area of drawing, and small edge length. However, a screen bottleneck problem appears when the number of nodes exceeds the number of available pixels on the screen.
Interactive visualization allows extracting a refined data set or triggering additional calculations, such as measures of interest (Schulz and Schumann, 2006). In dynamic linked ubiquitous brushing – a set of techniques to query and select elements on visual display – the user can brush in one view in one dimension and see the results of that operation in other dimensions in other views (Roberts and Wright, 2006).
Professionals and students make a knowledge-based society rather than information-based society with a need to understand and visualize patterns of communication. Such understanding is made possible by visualization and semantic analysis of a social network (for example, cell phone users, e-mail archives, or links in criminal networks) by combining its textual content analysis with the terms similarity search. iQuest is a software system that permits to gain new insights into organizational behavior, is tracking information while respecting privacy, comparing different interaction channels, network membership, and correlating organizational performance and creativity. It extends automatic visualization of social networks by mining communication archives such as e-mail and blogs through including analysis of the contents of those archives (Gloor and Zhao, 2006).
A collaborative knowledge visualization in the form of a graphical web-poll prototype – a mix of information, knowledge, and social visualization – has been designed and deployed in an online discussion board on herbal antidepressants. The plot-polling design is aimed to increase participation in online communities and allows users to collaboratively construct a sequence of mini histograms that indicate experienced mood change during a ten-week period (Ivanov et al., 2006).
Encyclopedia articles have been anchored to geospatial references by attaching articles from an encyclopedia knowledge space to geographical entities on the world atlas. Web-based 3D interface allows navigation of the German Brockhaus Encyclopedia through a geospatial metaphor by browsing of encyclopedia content by geographical context. Most encyclopedias are structured in an alphabetical manner and favor keyword queries and link-based navigation as the primary form of access. Other dynamic contents such as news articles or network analysis data could also be visualized by into the geospatial reference network (Kienreich et al., 2006).
3.7. Knowledge Maps
Knowledge mapping points to the knowledge base by helping to find the knowledge and build insights into the qualities of this knowledge (Driessen et al., 2006). A map metaphor is widely used to visualize non-geographic knowledge domains. Knowledge maps have been used to organize and structure knowledge sources, knowledge application steps, insightful concepts, expert networks or communities of practice. When classifying knowledge maps by intended purpose, Eppler discerns maps made to create new knowledge, assess or audit some assets graphically, identify or overview, learn with maps, transfer knowledge, or achieve knowledge marketing. When classifying knowledge maps by graphic form, he lists maps in table-based format, diagrams of a structure or a process, cartographic, and metaphoric knowledge maps. Eppler also classifies knowledge maps by their content, by application level, and by their creation method, with their specific application domains. Online interactive knowledge maps and tools that can automatically generate knowledge maps are also available (Eppler, 2006).
Searching through information can be done in two ways: by querying and browsing, where querying seems to be more appropriate for a specific search, whereas browsing strategies seem to be more appropriate for exploratory search. Query results are presented as a ranked list or a cluster results, while browse results are shown as a visual map. Driessen et al. created a model how to combine browsing and querying in one search interface and then they evaluated the model by applying it in the knowledge-mapping domain. A PhotoPhone+, a knowledge map tool based on the Yellow Pages consists of two parts, a list and a map view that includes clusters of people grouped according to their expertise. The interaction of querying and browsing in PhotoPhone+ includes a query from a list, map steering querying, browsing through the map, and association from a list (Driessen et al., 2006).
Text Map Explorer is a tool for creating and exploring document maps (both comprehensive and detailed visual representations of document collections) that groups documents by their content and reveals relationship amongst them, with the distance between documents indicating a similarity relationship (Paulovich and Minghim, 2006).
Tactile glyphs represent abstract information such as hierarchical relationships and can be used to represent hierarchical relationships and for palpation of relationships
(Osawa, 2006). A tactile glyph uses vibro-tactile feedback to the fingers and palm of the hand. By comparing two tactile glyphs, one for each hand, one can understand the relationships between the information that the glyphs represent. Mapping hierarchical information to a pattern and using a sequence of tactile feedback enable the representation of relationships in a large hierarchy.
3.8. Visual Data Mining
Information Architecture is the structuring of information. It designs, structures to organize, visualize, and access information in digital and physical environments, and focuses on digital technologies (Burkhard, 2006).
Data mining is the search for novel information within data. Data mining techniques can include association rules, clustering, and classification. The process includes selection and formatting of data, then, in the process of discretization, continuous (not discrete) values are grouped into bins characterized by ranges of values, then trimmed to relevant fields. In the pattern discovery process, the complexity in data mining arises from the distribution of values contained in the data, rather than the number of records. Explaining the results of data mining can be made easier with the use of visualization techniques. Histogram-based visualizations provide exploratory tools that describe the underlying model of data and make possible human interpretation. Classification techniques allow for developing models that can be used to predict unknown values (Groth, 2006).
Visualization of data can be done before, during, or a posteriori – by using an output of the text miner. The text miner produces a hierarchical clustering of documents that group similar documents into disks of classes and subclasses. In an a posteriori visual data-mining tool OCEAN, an interactive visualizer with constrained navigation provides assistance for knowledge discovery; the interface offers a view of the data set and the document space. OCEAN is a three-level processor for visual text mining, as it supports data mining, abstract representation, and virtual scene navigation. An interactive exploration provides a document layout with a local 2½D view of the disks (Jacquemin et al., 2006).
A WebPatterns tool combines existing Web usage mining tools and visualization technique to analyze the information architecture of organizational web sites, implement algorithms for the association rule mining or the sequence analysis, and then visualize web usage patterns with the radial trees (Oosthuizen et al., 2006). NetPatterns is another tool that facilitates visualization of network performance data (Knoetze et al., 2006).
3.9. Visualization of the Semantic Web
The semantic web is an extension of the Web that is a universal medium for data, information, and knowledge exchange. In a semantic space, the meanings of words are represented numerically depending on the frequency distributions of the words. The content of the Web can be conveyed not only in a language that is written by people; it also can be understood and used by software agents that act for users or other programs. The semantic web analyzes the data on the Web – the content, links, and transactions between people and computers, and provides common metadata languages (such as Resource Description Framework RDF) that describe information about web resources to publish information. Web 3.0 provides an access to a semantic Web integrated across a huge data resource (Wikipedia, 2007). Semantic web and personalized information management employ ontologies to represent the semantic context of the domain and its classes (Katifori et al., 2006). Ontology is a format description of a domain that contains entities (classes). Thus, a formal description of a domain can be done with the ontology engineering environment tools for semantic Web services. Several ontology visualizations are available through the existing ontology management tools. Protégé is a widely used ontology tool that uses several kinds of visualization plug-ins for the representation of the ontology. Plug-ins for web browsers can render into a browser window the Scalable Vector Graphics files (SVG, an XML-based language for describing geometric objects). Several new ontology visualization approaches and tools have been presented at the iV ’06 Conference.
4. Integrative art-science collaborative projects
4.1. Gemotion project. The five senses - particularly, sight, sound and touch - which form the key elements of virtual reality, can interact with traditional performing arts. The interactive space of Gemotion allows mixing the cyber and real space, and makes possible a new type of human-art communication. Gemotion space (that means growth, gene + emotion) is controlled by the data from movements of the performers and/or audience, so their movements cause that colors and sounds become the emotional components in resulting computer-generated artwork. Even subtle movements of a dancer change the shape and color of the abstract visuals created in the emotive computer-generated images. The audience can also interact with a conceptual space by directing their cell phones toward a computer-generated image on a big screen, and thus creating a growth model artwork. The participants’ calls serve as a genetic code that affects the parameters of the growth model generating a computer program. In another collaborative Gemotion project, images or the audience’s movements, when projected on a flat screen, evoke bulging, bubbling up, and collapsing of the image on the screen, and create the illusion of its three-dimensionality (Kawaguchi, 2006).
4.2. Intelligent buildings. Interactive building ‘skins’ are created by architects as intelligent buildings with the environmental control systems that react to changes in external condition, and also by artists experimenting with media façades (Moloney, 2006). Thus, architecture becomes a time-based medium. Such a building has an input, processing, and output system and often a learning ability. The Arab institute in Paris designed by Jean Nouvel in 1988 has a southern wall protected from the sun by a 60 meter wall composed of multiple panels with metallic diaphragms of various sizes. They shrink or widen, like camera lenses, in response to sensors to control penetration of sunlight into the building.
Media screens enable social interaction and engagement. They take a form of large-scale computer displays with data projection or video walls. One-way media display serves as the information or public art. Light-emitting diodes (LED) are often used. The Chanel building in Tokyo (designed by Peter Marino) has an interactive system, canvas roll blinds, and state-changing electronic privacy glass. The BIX installation for the Kunsthaus in Graz, Austria (realities:united architects, 2003) has fluorescent lamps on acrylic glass façade that act as pixels controlled individually by a computer, so 20 frames/second images, films and animations can be displayed there. The SPOTS building at the Potsdamer Platz in Berlin (realities:united architects, 2005) also has fluorescent lamps that act as a media screen with a large grid pattern. Interactive screens are usually installed in internal environments. Various projects use cell phone technology and infrared plus image tracking technology to enable the audience to interact with the display. The new Zealand pavilion for the 2005 world expo in Japan showcased a rear projection screen system linked to an infra red camera that tracked the hands of users interacting with the content. The 12 meter jelly-fish like D-tower in Doetinchem, Netherlands has an accessible to everybody website and a questionnaire to gauge the mood of the town and add to a sense of social cohesiveness. In several projects, imagery is created through physical movement of architectural surface, so it is effective in daylight. The interactive wall of the Agesis Hyposurface (Birmingham, 1999) is made up of triangulated metal plates (driven by pneumatic pistons) that act as pixels and changes in response to movement, sound, light or other electronic stimuli. In Charlotte, USA, Ned Kahn produced a veil that is responsive to wind with a quality of metallic fluid. It is made up of thousands of 75 mm square aluminum discs pivoted individually in a cable grid. In a “Not so white walls” project (Dario Buzzini, 2004), users can display pixilated texts and images on interactive wallpaper by using heat-sensitive ink and a resistor matrix, and thus they can decorate a wall, read their e-mail, or view images taken with their mobile phone camera. ICE (Interactive Communicative Experience, Bloomberg Headquarters, Tokyo) display stock-exchange data in an understandable way; a green icicle suspended from the ceiling acts as a data collector (Moloney, 2006 and Diniz & Branco, 2006).
4.3. Interactive art. The multimedia art installation project titled "Trigger" has been created by the artist Jody Zellen and the computer scientists and then opened at the Pace Digital Gallery, New York (Marchese, 2006). The system is made up of a microcontroller-sensor system (two sonar sensors per computer, each controlling one projector), application software (recognizing Flash application), and interface software between sensors and application. Agile software engineering methodologies were found useful in the management of artistic collaboration.
Animated and photo-realistic virtual humans are created for real-time and interactive entertainment, education, and training (Takåcs, 2006). The Virtual Human Interface (VHI) supports multi-modal virtual reality experiences on a portable platform. A closed-loop interaction model has been developed by Takåcs, with closed-loop dialogues implemented for emotional modulation, so it maximizes the emotional engagement of the user. A virtual child that has been built upon the VHI can be used in interactive entertainment, education, rehabilitation, and even pop-culture.
The interactive artwork “Cardiomorphologies” uses biofeedback technologies, and incorporates visualization of heart and breath rate data. The aims were to create a sense of integrated mental and physical engagement with the work and evoke a reflective state where the participants correlate their thoughts and specific physiological states (Muller et al., 2006).
The theme chosen for the 10th Information Visualization Conference iV 06 was “Shifting Focus to Content Exploration” which means, shifting from a visual and presentational exploration to visual analytic enquiries aimed at even wider awareness of knowledge. This shift creates potential for new application domains and evolving scientific disciplines. Also, a new framework for information visualization includes cooperation of researchers involved in the information-rich disciplines, such as humanities, psychology, sociology, architecture, natural sciences, business and management, rather than just science-rich disciplines.
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