Blog post: Data in five senses

Following from yesterday’s post about creating Real World Data Objects I started to think about the other ways that data can be consumed.

I was at a talk at the BBC last year where Fank Swain’s project was discussed. He was registered blind and was adapting his hearing aids in order to be able to ‘hear’ wireless signals.

This got me thinking about the other senses and how they could be used to consume data in different ways with a view to exploring how we bridge the data literacy gap.


Although I couldn’t see anything specifically about turning data into smells, I did come across the below (I suppose the first one is kind of doing it in an I/0 kind of way).

I was more interested though in nuanced project, for example, is anyone experimenting with making different smells to indicate different states in a live data set i.e I smell bananas if there’s heavy traffic on my route to work?

This device gives off a metallic smell when your personal data is being compromised

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The Smelly maps aims to map the smells within a city 

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NASA scientists have been listening to data for a while now 

And here’s what that Wifi sounds like

FedEx make a custom soundtrack to your delivery based on mode of transport, dimensions and destination here


Although quite firmly being of interest to artists at present. There is a potential for Real World Data Objects to bring ‘touchers’ into contact with data

Below is Nathalie Meibach’s incredible sculpture made of meteorological data

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This article reminds us that there have been data sculptures around for thousands of years and contains this image of the Tohuko Japanese earthquake

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PhD students, Adam Eydelnant and JarlathByrne Rodgers opened a lab to get people to taste data from a “data drink machine”

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Taste of data is an ongoing project where statistics and cuisine are combined together.

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Well, this is the obvious one isn’t it. I’ll just leave the Information Is Beautiful awards page here

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