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The Art of Making Data: Quantifying Touch

Event Details

Thursday, September 29, 2016 (01:00 PM - 03:00 PM)
No Instructor Assigned Yet

Workshop Details


All of the equipment and software necessary for this workshop will be provided during the workshop, including the Arduino software and SAS Studio OnDemand for Academics.

You do not have to have attended the D.H. Hill Makerspace Orientation before attending this workshop. 


Quantification: The Art of Making Data workshop taught by Elliot Inman and Aaron Arthur

With 27 bones, the human hand is capable of a wide variety of gestures, from a single finger pressing a button to an opposable thumb and fingers carefully turning a dial.  With the Arduino kits available in the D.H. Hill Makerspace, we can design a hardware interface that allows human beings to interact with our invention by pressing a button, turning a dial, or even waving a hand in front of an electronic eye.  Those hand gestures can control our invention; the gestures can also be saved as data to help us better understand our users and the system, itself.  But to build a useful interface, we need to design a hardware interface that is well-suited to the human hand and gather data that accurately reflect gestures made. 

For example, how can we distinguish a button tapped once versus a button held down?  How can we identify a deliberate gesture from a less deliberate motion?  How many dials can one hand turn at the same time?  How quickly can a human hand turn a dial; how quickly can we gather the data on that motion?  How often might a person actually want or need to press a button?  By considering questions like these and others, we can design a hardware interface that takes advantage of the unique capabilities of the human hand and gather and analyze data that accurately reflect those gestures. 

In this workshop, we will use several kinds of sensors and an Arduino to gather meaningful data about simple human gestures:  pressing a button, turning a dial, and waving a hand in front of an electronic eye.  We will set up the Arduino to save data in a manner that allows us to use the digitized records for statistical analysis.

This workshop is part of the Quantification: The Art of Making Data event series in collaboration with the NCSU Data Science Initiative. See Dr. Inman speak on 9/28/16 as part of the DSI's RED Talks series, 7:00pm at the Talley Student Union.

Elliot Inman is a Manager of Software Development at SAS.  Trained as an Experimental Psychologist, he has developed code and conducted statistical analyses on a wide variety of data, from marketing and sales data to health care, international trade, education, and social services for at-risk children.  He has conducted makerspace workshops at NC State and UNC, as well as various maker faires.  He occasionally blogs here:

Aaron Arthur is an NC State senior in Computer Engineering with a minor in Linguistics.  He created the DH Hill Makerspace Card Access System and has led numerous electronics workshops in the Makerspace.  He is currently a Technical Intern at SAS where he is working on a number of “data for good” projects, including the application of text mining algorithms to witness report data to better understand deaths the international migrant crisis.

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