Making data by hand


NC State Students learn new technologies in the D. H. Hill Library Makerspace

What do contact mics and Arduinos have to do with gathering and analyzing data? Everything, as it turns out. The D. H. Hill Library Makerspace hosts three free workshops for NC State students and faculty—in a series called “The Art of Making Data”—on September 29-30 that connect maker culture to data science.

  • The Art of Making Data: Quantifying Touch: Thursday, Sept. 29, 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
    We will use an Arduino and sensors to gather data on simple human hand gestures: pressing a button, turning a dial, and waving a hand in front of an electronic eye. We will setup the Arduino to save data in a manner that allows us to use the digitized records for statistical analysis.
  • The Art of Making Data: Quantifying Sound: Thursday, Sept. 29, 3:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
    We will build a simple contact microphone and record sounds using Audacity. We will set up Audacity to save sound data so that the digitized records can be used for statistical analysis.
  • The Art of Making Data: Quantifying Attitudes and Emotions: Friday, Sept. 30, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
    We will build an audience response meter using an Arduino to capture audience emotional responses to a video. We will match those data to the content of the video so that we can conduct a statistical analysis of the resulting data.

All workshop materials and software will be provided, including an online SAS Studio account for statistical analysis. Advance registration is required for the workshops. To register, visit:

The workshops coincide with the first of a series of Data Science Initiative “Red Talks.” Dr. Elliot Inman delivers “Quantification: The Art of Making Data” on Wednesday, September 28, at 7:00 p.m. in the Mountains Ballroom in the Talley Student Union. Inman is a Manager of Software Development for SAS Solutions OnDemand and an NC State alumni. He has analyzed a wide variety of data in areas as diverse as the effectiveness of print and digital advertising, social service outcomes analysis, healthcare claims analysis, and basic scientific research on human memory and cognitive processes.

Inman will co-teach the workshops with NC State students Aaron Arthur and Olivia Wright.

The “Red Talks” continue with Dr. Laura Haas’ “The Power Behind The Throne: Information Integration in the Age of Data-Driven Discovery” on Tuesday, Oct. 18 at 7:00 p.m. in the Duke Energy Hall at the James B. Hunt Jr. Library, and Dr. Jeff Leek’s “Is Most Published Research Really False?” on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 7:00 p.m. in the Mountains Ballroom at the Talley Student Union.