Friday 22 August, 2014

Read tough data sheets on tablets with this device

Published On: Wed, Apr 23rd, 2014 | Computer Science | By BioNews

Finding it difficult to read excel data tables on your ipad? Don’t worry as now you can explore spreadsheets with just a touch of your finger, thanks to an Indian-American researcher and his colleague.

Aniket Kittur, along with Jeffrey Rzeszotarski from Carnegie Mellon University, has developed a visualisation approach that allows people to explore complex data with their fingers.

Named Kinetica, this proof-of-concept system for the Apple iPad converts tabular data, such as Excel spreadsheets, so that data points appear as coloured spheres on the touchscreen.

“People can directly manipulate this data, using natural gestures to sort, filter, stack, flick and pull data points as needed to help them answer questions or explore hidden relationships,” said Aniket Kittur, an assistant professor at Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII) at Carnegie.

“The interactions are intuitive so people quickly figure out how to explore the data with minimal training,” added Rzeszotarski, a PhD student at HCII.

People often try to make sense of data where you have to balance many dimensions against each other, such as deciding what model of car to buy.

Kinetica solves this problem by taking advantage of the multi-touch capabilities of tablets.

Someone sorting through data on car models, for instance, could pull all of the different models into a chart that graphs their gas mileage and horsepower.

Approaches such as Kinetica could expand the functionality of tablets, they contend.

“Tablets can accommodate much more natural gestures and apps need to play to that strength,” Kittur noted.

The duo is scheduled to present their findings at the ‘CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems’ in Toronto April 29.

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