Module 8: 201400436 Data: from the source to the senses

(for an overview of the entire first year see the Year 2 overview page)

Module 8 in the Creative Technology curriculum is the last joint component in the BSc program. Central theme in this module is data, both in the physical world and the digital world.

It starts and finishes with a project (“Hybrid Worlds”) in which students work, in groups of 10 to 15, on an installation that brings together the physical world with the cyber world. The idea is that in that project, data, in the broadest possible sense, is being used and processed, interactively or not, after having been brought together from various sources, finally is presented physically and interactively to a variety of senses (of an audience). In the project, students use all they have learned throughout the Create curriculum so far.

The theory components in this module all deal with the processing, handling and/or the visualization of (big) data.

Thematic components in Module 8

Hybrid Worlds

In the Hybrid Worlds project, knowledge and experience form the tracks New Media and Smart Technology get integrated in the design, implementation and actual building of an installation for Physical Data Visualization. Practically, an installation has to be developed containing phenomena from the physical and the virtual domain, acting either simultaneously or in alternation, where possibilities of interaction or interplay of both domains are explored. Conceptually, the integration is based on an analysis of meaningful complementation of phenomena in the two domains. The usual design process of Creative Technology guides the project work planning and documentation of the

Data Visualisation

In recent years, there has been an explosion in the attention for “data visualization”, “information visualization” and “information graphics” (which are all related). To get an impression of the diversity of such visual representations of data, browse for example the large collection of examples that can be found at http://infosthetics.com/. In this course we will work on learning both conceptual and practical skills related to (any kind of) useful visualization of (any kind of) data. We will learn about principles of visual encoding, about the wide spectrum of different types of visualization, and about what makes a data visualization good or bad. We will learn skills for the critical analysis of data visualizations, for the generation of data visualization ideas, for the conceptual development of data visualizations, and for the actual making of data visualizations.

Data Driven Applications

The data drive applications theme teaches students the management of data with a focus on knowledge usable to build web applications. In the course the students will learn about data modeling using Entity Relationship models and their translation into database schemas. The students will implement a database and will learn about web access to this database. Further, together with knowledge about Internet Technology, students will learn how to send and retrieve data from other servers using Web Services. Finally, as the amount of data is often too complex for humans to transform them into information, students will also learn about data preparation methods for visualization. Achieving the learning goals related to data driven applications will enable the students to manage data within the module's project.

Internet Technology

Modern communication systems are centered around concepts developed over the last 50 years, primarily in the context of the internet. The course addresses the basic principles of modern networks systems, thereby addressing both the general principles, and their concrete application in the internet. The course follows a top-down approach, in that, starting from the overall network architecture, principles of the well-known (and widely used) application protocols are discussed, before diving deeper in the network technology. Subsequently, the notion of end-to-end transport protocols, host-to-host network protocols and link-layer access protocols (both for wired and wireless networks) are addressed. The course uses the widely-used textbook by Kurose & Ross.

Tutoring/ portfolio

Creative Technology emphasizes that students should take their own responsibility for setting and reaching the ambitions for their future. Creative Technology students are self-directing learners. They collect their progress in a portfolio. The portfolio is a proof of long term development as a “Creative Technologist.” The Portfolio Course is partly integrated in the project. Via the portfolio topic the student can reflect both on the things learned during the project and during the courses.

During this module students orient themselves on the concept “coolness” and reflect on the coolness of their products/designs in order to become more aware of the coolness of their own products/designs.

Either New Media or Smart Technology

Finally, there is one “2-out-of-1 component”:

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Biosignals and Medical Electronics (for Smart Technology),

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New Media deepening (for New Media).

Biosignals and Medical Electronics (Smart Technology)

Electrophysiological measurements nowadays are more than ever available for every layman at home. Heart rate, glucose, temperature, position (accelerometer), skin conductivity, muscular electrical activities (EMG) are for instance all physiological quantities that can easily be determined since measurement techniques and tools have become cheaper, smaller, more invasive and can be more embedded than ever into other electronic equipment. The deepening part of Smart Technology will provide the students an introduction into this world of electrophysiological measurements. It will treat amongst others: The origin of electrophysiological signals (action potentials); how to measure electrophysiological signals (e.g. EMG, ECG, EEG); how to design, specify and implement amplifiers + subsequent signal analysis for measuring electrophysiological signals; analysis of signals from electrophysiological (EMG, ECG) measurements using Matlab.

New Media Deepening (New Media)

The “Information Graphics” part of the course is intended to be a close cooperation, and an addition to, the “Dynamic Data Visualization” course. The New Media course (as opposed to “Dynamic Data Visualization”) will focus mostly on “tooling”, and the story telling aspects of data visualization. This part of the course will be based on individual work to be performed by the students. Tools that will be investigated include “Tableau”, “Gephi”, “Highcharts”, and “Blockspring”.

The “gamification” part of the course is complementary to the “Information Graphics” side of visualization. It focuses on visualization of complex dynamic systems. The course will give a short introduction of how to use a game engine (Unity 3D) to create an interactive visualization of such processes, building on working knowledge obtained earlier in the New Media track, in module 5.