Data Real - Imagine Physically Experiencing Data

Cinema 4D was used to conceptualize the haptic interface of the VR “Data Real” project.

Takram is a Tokyo-based innovation firm with specialists in various fields, from engineering to graphic design and have completed numerous projects that combine design and technology. Cedric Caremel, a design engineer at Takram, is researching and developing tangible interfaces and haptic device technologies using Virtual Reality, such as in the “Data Real” project. He used Cinema 4D as part of the design process.

What is Data Real?

When analyzing data, the user will find interesting patterns by physically sensing the correlations of data rather than interpreting them visually. In that sense, “Data Real" is a completely different approach to data visualization. Users access the stream of information through Oculus Rift and manipulate the data with haptic gloves and LEAP motion for hand recognition. The user can then dive into a flow of data and analyze trends and tendencies. In this project, aircraft flight data was chosen to be displayed in a 3D in a virtual representation of Earth with detailed objects such as airplanes, flight traces, geographical coordinates, etc. Users can touch these objects through the haptic glove device, which provides tactile feedback. The current prototype provides feedback to only a few fingers and Cedric Caremel would like to develop a future version where more actuators would provide an even better haptic experience.   

About workflow with Cinema 4D

“Cinema4D was used from the very beginning to help visualize the final concept of the haptic gloves and the VR box before manufacturing them," explained Cedric. "Basic modeling was done with NURBS in Rhino, and then exported to Cinema 4D where the model was fine-tuned for more detail, better materials and an environment setup for rendering. The primary tools used were Subdivision Surface on the polygonal model, instances, MoGraph and the Bend object to quickly replicate the basic physics of the flexible parts. Cinema 4D is a powerful 3D software for both modeling to animation, with an intuitive environment, tons of plug-ins, scripts and constant updates. I have been using it for 5 years now.” In the future, Cedric thinks that going through flow of information will change from visualization only to full immersion with haptic experiences.

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