Here’s another nifty ambient data display, though not commercial yet. Take an illustration, say a calming tropical beach scene, and then tie elements of the picture to incoming data streams. As we read on the Technology Research News website:
The dedicated information screen in Stasko’s office displays a beach theme. A sailboat moves from left to right between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. to keep time. The type of clouds in the sky reflect the weather in Pennsylvania where his parents live. A large seagull shows the Dow Jones performance: minus 200 points is the left edge of the screen and plus 200 is the right. Mousing over elements in the image makes small text balloons pop up to display, for instance, “42 degrees.” When Stasko gets email from his wife, a towel appears on the beach chair.
It may sound a little silly now, but I’m certain there will be lots of this kind of thing in the near future. Then again, just imagine how puzzled your co-workers would be if you jumped up and yelled “Oh my God! Look where that sea gull is!” and ran out of the office.