Sticky Data

Sticky Data

An ambient haptic device that enables the wearer to feel fluctuations in 'geo-spatial' data and for those outside the data economy to become data-harvesters and propagators.

What might it feel like to walk through a 'data cloud' or a 'data meadow'?

The creation and flow of data is playing an increasingly important role in constructing society, from the provision of improved services, richer interactions and even informing governmental policy. However, the digital divide continues to widen, and technological developments are exacerbating inequality.

The production of the data, as well as access to it, is the privilege of a select subset of society while the rest are excluded and consequently ‘data poor’. In other words, this data inequality means that large sections of society have little or no say in how society and the 'data-layer' of urban space will continue to be constructed.

On an individual level, we are increasingly equated with our data profiles, which become a form of social (and sometimes commercial) capital. In this sense technologies may be restricting and limiting personal identity development at the data level, but also increasing existing issues of inequality and disenfranchisement.

Sensuous Cities

As the data economy expands and becomes a more dominant market, what devices might we design to harvest, grow or farm data without having to invest time, money or fraction our personal identities in doing so? If data is part of the fabric of our urban places, how do we experience this new 'data-city' in a sensorial way? How might we develop methods of manipulating data as a material?

In the same way that you feel grass while walking through a field, Sticky Data is a device that allows people to sensuously experience the density of located data while moving through space. And just as seeds stick to our clothing to increase the spread of pollination, so the configuration of data is disrupted and reordered as we move through it.

Prototype: Data Peripherials

An Android application will be created to search for geo-tagged data. The amount of data items found in a location will be fed to the Arduino over a bluetooth serial connection. This will control a haptic output via electrodes that are attached directly to the users skin. The user will experience a tingling sensation that increases and decreases in intensity as they move through more or less dense fields of data.

As the user moves on, data seeds will be copied and dropped in new locations spreading them throughout the city or collected and cataloged by the device.

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