It’s different strokes for different folks when it comes to ways to participate in citizen science, and this one really gets my attention. Chadwick John Friedman, a student at the University of Denver, was interested in Twitter insights on sustainability and decided to create a real-time artistic data visualization, according to 3ders. Called PrecogNation, the three masks ensemble glow to represent the challenges in becoming a sustainable world.
Progress in sustainable development (green) is represented by keywords such as renewable energy, wind turbines and so on. Threats to sustainability (red) include deforestation, global warming and pollution. The blue group, finally, represents contrasting results. After all, “polar bear” and “melting polar” in a single article are unreadable for the masks.
The masks were 3D printed and the way they are connected reminds me of the “precogs” aligned in the tank in Minority Report. In the film, each represented different views much like this project. In Chadwick’s piece, red and blue occur more often than green, but that is not surprising.
This is in fact a positive outcome, as one of the main goals of this project is to highlight the importance of maintaining a dialogue – even if that dialogue surrounds daunting threats to sustainability.
Sustainability is a topic that often comes with guilt because it doesn’t go well with consumerism and waste. People have to get over their defenses in order to open up to the topic before any change can happen. I see this tech project as a good way to start the curiosity and questions.
An Arduino Yun is allowing for the hook into Twitter’s API, but what is more interesting is the way that info and algorithms have become so important in detecting trends. In fact, data and insights are the trend, which is why IBM’s Watson is such a prize. People want the ability to forecast the future. In Chadwick’s case, there is already one discovery.
Sustainable success is dependent on a switch to hydrogen fusion to reduce CO2 emissions and the colonization of other planets.
The question is whether our desire to have the information will really lead to change, or whether it will merely suck us into a spiral of intellect. I’m hoping it is the first. Do you have an educational project in mind that needs to fetch data from the internet? Check out our learning guide on the Feather HUZZAH, a tiny all-in-one microcontroller that allows you to connect. Share your knowledge with the world and don’t forget to suggest a small something that people can do to create positive change.
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