A guy that Brandon follows on Twitter recently tweeted out a blog post that talked about how important Virtual Reality data visualization will become as it pertains to "big data" analysis, and drawing conclusions. So, we decided to jump into it and see what we could do to solve this issue that is fast approaching the medical world.
What it does
ImmersiveViz takes in data and then makes a meaningful plot. It is a tool for finding new understanding in exploring the data, by using the most basic analytical algorithm known to man: our brains. Taking multivariable data inputs, we are able to see connections that were not obvious to the user.
How we built it
We used the Unity game engine to plot the data points and allow the user to move around through the data. They can move around through it, and using the Oculus Rift can see a full 360 degree view of their surrounding data points.
Challenges we ran into
The first laptop we had would not install the Oculus software, so that set us back several hours. Then we got a desktop that didn't have the right cables for its monitor. We then ran into several challenges using the Unity 3D engine, namely how to add more than one data set (linking sets to each other in one program), .
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Learning the unity 3D engine (none of us had experience with coding in unity before). We found interesting correlations in the data we used using our technique.
What we learned
Some general conclusions that we can draw from the data that we analyzed during this project:
Substance Abuse Data
- Males drink more than females.
- If school doesn't matter to the student, students drink more
- If school does matter, the students GPA is higher, and they drink less.
Lung Cancer Data
- Incidence rate is highest for Black males
- White males are the second highest
- Poverty rate and incidence rate show strong correlation.
We learned a lot about Unity and data exploration. We learned how to clean up data and how to draw meaningful conclusions from it. Dividing up work was also a huge learning experience. It required a lot of thought to select the right task for the right person. The biggest chunk of the learning process was how to handle working in a virtual space with the Oculus. It is difficult, but using this technology during this hackathon we understand that the future is bright for many applications.
What's next for ImmersiveViz
Allow users to pick more dimensions such as shape of a data point, individual coloration of data points, clustering effects, particle effects, and scene linking in unity so that you can see all of your data sets in real time at a click of a button.