First Steps: PEACH Data Visualisation in a Mixed Reality Environment

Exploring New Ways of Visualising, Analysing and Manipulating Data in a “Post-Screen” (Mixed Reality) World.

About the Project:

Given the initial task to develop a data dashboard using the Microsoft Hololens, I set out to experiment with the Hololens/Unity development environment. I quickly learned about the benefits and limitations of the Hololens, particularly when using it for data visualisation.

Given the limited field of view of the hololens (only 30 by 17.5 degrees, more info here) it is unreasonable to display large, room filling dashboards at this time, as one will never be able to see all the visualisations without significant head movement. The Hololens abruptly cuts off when a hologram extends beyond your field of view. Therefore, the ability to compare and analyse different data is severely hindered by the fact that only a small portion of data visualisations is visible at any time. A simple dashboard displayed on a regular computer screen is better at accomplishing this, as data visualisations can be smaller and there is no need for head movement.

What struck us as interesting is using the Hololens’ ability to display three-dimensional holographs. The added third dimension that the Hololens’ holographic environment provides allows for more dimensions of data to be displayed at once. What needs to be displayed in several graphs on a regular 2-D data dashboard can be displayed in a single graph using more dimensions (e.g. using x/y/z axes, colours and shapes). More data can be displayed simultaneously in a confined space, helping to solve the aforementioned field of view limitations. In addition, it could be possible to change the dimensions that are displayed, allowing for the user to analyse data interactively (e.g. slicing and dicing of data).

This project aims to explore the above-mentioned hypotheses by utilising cancer waiting times data which has not been extensively analysed. It is being developed in close collaboration with the Centre for Cancer Outcomes at the UCLH Cancer Collaborative, which will also be one of several potential users of the end product.

About Me:

My name is Lucas and I attained my BSc in International Business. After working at a Berlin-based VC fund, I am now pursuing a Computer Science MSc at UCL. Currently, I am looking into ways to visualise and manipulate data in a 3D environment — as described above.