Tangible Data Scanning
Tangible Data Scanning (TDS) is a TAI that is attached to a Sonification Model following the Model-Based Sonification approach of Hermann. TDS provides direct access to abstract data sets using auditory augmentation and physical interaction. To achieve this, the space surrounding the user is augmented with a model space originating in the data. It comprises of virtual objects that are derived from the data items under exploration. They establish a fixed link between data set and real space. A plate that serves as the central Tangible Interface is connected to a virtual body that scans through the acoustically active objects that represent the data. Every time the virtual part of the exploration tool touches a data object it reacts with an audible excitation. This immediate feedback creates a strong spatio-auditive metaphor between the tool state and the sonic reaction of the system that helps the user to understand and relate his activity to the data set’s inner structure. The connection of the real and the virtually linked data space enables the user to connect spatial landmarks to specific aspects of the data: A mentally link between physical artefacts and data-inherent structures like clusters or local density peculiarities is established. With the help of these associations, users are able to remember spatial data properties, even if the system is stopped.