Category: Student Work

Assignment 2: Dyer, Blum, Chen (Samsung GearVR)

The Samsung GearVR is a virtual reality headset that is powered by Oculus, one of the leading companies developing immersive VR technology today. The GearVR is compatible with several Samsung mobile phones, and provides users the opportunity to play a number of 3D video games, view videos, and much more. The GearVR is unique because of its modest price tag of $99.99 (excluding a Samsung phone), compared to other similar products, such as the HTC Vive, which was made available for pre-order earlier this week for $799.99.

Based off of the reactions we received from several test subjects, there are two primary shortcomings, primarily the ability to walk and move around. Users had desired to be able to walk and move around in certain apps (such as Google Street View), but currently the GearVR technology does not allow for that. The second complaint test subjects had was the lack of diversity in apps; many people we had test the device wish they had a greater selection of applications to choose from. Granted, this is not a problem with the device – there are more apps available for purchase on the store – but there is still a small selection of apps given how new the technology is.

To test the device we had various people try on the headset and directed them on the basic functionality of the device. From there we had people try out one or two of the applications (primarily Netflix and Google Street View). Most users wore and tested out the headset for roughly 10 minutes each. Most users were blown away by the technology and clearly had not used a VR headset before. All of the users enjoyed the experience and were highly intrigued by the technology.

Users liked how realistic and immersive the technology was, but, as noted above, the two main dislikes were the inability to walk around and the lack of apps.

The new product concept we are proposing to build with this new technology is a revolutionary, cutting edge way to watch and experience live sporting events. Court-side basketball tickets can cost thousands of dollars, and field level seats for NFL games can get even more expensive than that. But using the Samsung GearVR  and 360 camera technology, users would be able to “sit court-side” and view sporting events from the best seat in the house, all while sitting on their couch at home. By placing 360 camera rigs at the midline and baselines of NBA stadiums, sporting events could be live streamed straight to the Samsung GearVR headset, allowing users to view games as if they were sitting court-side. Additionally, by using more than one 360 camera rig, users would be able to alternate between camera angles, allowing them to view the game from whichever view they see fit.

The target market for this concept would be sports fans. Given how recent the technology is, engaged sports fans would be the primary consumers of the technology, but as it expands we could advertise and market to more casual sports fans as well. At the heart of this concept is making the sports television experience more immersive. Very few people get the opportunity to sit court-side for NBA basketball games or on the field level for NFL games, but there are tens of millions of people in the United States that regularly watch both of those sports, and even more people across the globe. This technology would be the next step in making the sports television experience more immersive, and would provide viewers with a unique opportunity for viewing their favorite sporting events. One of the benefits of this concept is that there is no ceiling for it – there is a vast array of sporting events, and even non-sporting events, that could be broadcasted using this concept. There would likely also need to be a way to make renting or owning a Samsung VR device more obtainable than the current $800 value.

The assumption that we are making for this given solution and concept is that users want a new way to watch sporting events. Possible data we would need to collect for this concept include the number of people that regularly watch, for example, NBA basketball games, as well as the number of people that own Samsung GearVR headsets (or other similar technology). Additionally, data regarding how familiar people are with VR technology would also be beneficial if it existed.

Assignment 1-Alexandra Rojas

A judge in New Orleans, Louisiana is using her power to try to keep defendants from constantly being placed in and out of incarceration. She is teaching herself about how to better sentence people with mental illnesses and substance issues in order to keep them out of the criminal justice system.

I would like to create a video with animation and an interactive infographic (like the Holocaust one Carla Sertin posted in our Data Viz class) in the middle that shows what types of people are constantly in and out of prison. I would also include information on how many of these people have substance issues and mental illnesses. It would also be interesting to include some statistics on the changes that this judge has been enacting with her new policies.

I would launch it on the front page of the media company that I’m working with because that would be the first place that people would click and I would get the data the quickest. I would measure how long the user stayed on the infographic and determine whether it’s worth developing further.

Sam Blum — Assignment No. 1

When Derek Jeter retired at the end of the 2014, the New York Times did a fantastic interactive story about the 342,000 swings that Jeter took during his career


With another sports icon, Kobe Bryant, getting set to retire in April, I believe a similar type of interactive graphics page would draw large numbers of interested readers to whatever site published it.

It would be the XX shots that Kobe Bryant took during his career. From the average number he took in practice, to the number he took during warmups, to the number he took during his entire 20-year career. Like the Jeter GFX, it would go from shots per game to practice shots before games to points per shot (with every practice shot included). It will show how many shots per point went into his 81-point night, and how many shots per point went into one of his worst career games. The purpose is to give a number to the hard work that an athlete like that put in during an incredible career. It would also quantify how many shots actually go into a single point. The GFX won’t just show numbers, they’ll show a photo of Kobe shooting. And based on how high the number is, that photo of Kobe will be repeated to showcase it in a more tangible way.

When the guest lecturer spoke to us about the failed sports GFX that he was trying to do, my conjecture was that the L.A. Times was trying to quantify something that couldn’t be. You can’t compare a team 20-years apart, even with the best numbers, because the talent will always be different in different generations. This, however, is something that can be quantified, and that’s why it ill be successful, while that was not.

For this project, it’s important to collect correct data. It’s important to know how many shots he actually takes in practice, and from where on the court he takes them. It’s important to know where on the court he takes shots in-game too and how many shots he has taken in those games. The project will mirror the fantastic Jeter GFX. But for a different spot, it will show something completely different and in a different way.

Assignment #1 Nicole Griffin

One story that has been growing in the sports world is the effect of concussions on athletes. However, many people don’t realize that concussions aren’t just restricted to professional athletes. In fact, according to Nationwide Children’s, thousands of high school athletes suffer from concussions every year. The fact that concussions can cause long lasting brain damage is often overlooked in the non-professional sports world.

Why might this be? Football and other high impact sports would lose a lot of money if parents started pulling their children put of practices due to safety concerns. Also, high impact sports such as football are very popular in the U.S, which might course people to overlook the hazards for their love the game. I believe there should be more reports explaining just how crippling the effects of a concussion can be, presented in a way that would make the audience stand up and take notice.

In order to effectively present this story it would need to be very interactive. One way to do that would be to put the audience literally inside the head of someone who has suffered multiple concussions, in the same format as the Mars crater VR from the LA Times. Instead of looking around at Mars, they would be looking at different parts of the brain, which would be accompanied by narration explaining how each part is affected like the hippocampus, cerebellum, ect.

Another way to do this would be to make an interactive timeline. The timeline would start out with a child playing sports and then suffering from their first concussion. The timeline would show the effects of that concussion and then progress through the years and the child’s sports career as they got older. It might show things like playing football without a helmet, getting their 10th concussion, and playing for their college team. Eventually the timeline would end in old age where the former athlete can no longer remember things and is suffering from various health problems. This timeline would be effective in showing that concussions are a silent problem. They just don’t start affecting people all of the sudden, but instead build up over time until the effects are truly life altering. If there was even detailed documentation about all the concussions and health history of a prominent athlete that would work to serve as the character in this timeline. By presenting the story in this way, people are more likely to pay attention to it than just a standard health advisory.

In order to test if this story is something is something people would be interested in, I would first create a crude version of the interactive timeline. Then it would be beneficial to launch this in a health and sports sections of online media and see how many clicks it gets. is it seems to generate a lot of traffic, then it would be worth developing further.

Assignment 1 – Srosh Anwar

An Interactive map and timeline about number of refugees entering US each month

Refugee crisis which escalated last year is still going on in with US taking more than 60,000 refugees. Data of each entry is updated on United States Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration. This information is updates each months and is available to anyone in the form of boring excel spreadsheet. I want to make a series of interactive maps and timelines weaved in with the personal stories of refugees who have settled in US.

The first map that I have in my mind is about the number of refugees who came and settled in each state in this month.  Users will be able to see the number of refugees in each state by hovering the mouse over it. On clicking – the state would be zoomed in – which will be color coded according to the nationality of the new refugees. On clicking each color – a personal story from a newly arrived refugee family would pop up on the screen.

The second phase would be a timeline of the process what refugees have to get through to get refugee status United States. Each part of the process will have a separate clickable link in a chronological order for example

  • Getting your paper ready
  • Filling out the forms
  • Waiting for Approval

As users will click on each entry – a story of a refugee would pop up – which could be text or a very short video. Each personal story would also include the number of months or hours it took for each refugee to get to United States.

The third phase of the project is going to be getting settled in US. It will be the same timeline concept.

The project will be tested by completing the first phase only – to judge the user interest.

Assignment 1 – Carla Sertin

The Syrian refugee crisis has elicited very heated debates on whether or not Syrian refugees should be allowed in the U.S., and if the current screening procedures are thorough enough. Playing off of Len DeGroot’s Lottery animation, I would have the reader be placed in the shoes of the refugees. They could input their age, if they have a life partner and/or kids, and see what it’s like to actually go through the process of being resettled and the likelihood of being resettled in the U.S.

This would include the probability of being chosen for resettlement, the probability that they and their family members are separated, the probability that they end up in the U.S. versus other countries, and include the extensive background checks and waiting period (perhaps there could be a loading bar that says “1 month…. 2 months… 6 months…” until it gets to one of the many possible waiting times — which can range from about half a year to 2-3 years or more). Some cases would have an extensive waiting period followed by a rejection, not allowing the character to resettle. It would have very simple graphics and would be focused on the experience, with text underneath explaining the entire process of resettlement.

As a simple test, I might launch a version that just has graphics based on the probability that you end up in the U.S., which is likely the most pertinent information to U.S. audiences. So you would have a character according to your specifications and wait to see if they end up in the U.S.

Assignment #1 – Clayton Dyer

One of the largest issues this country is facing today is that of gun control and gun laws. The 2nd Amendment has become a hot button topic as the Presidential race begins to heat up, with candidates’ opinions landing in a number of places on a wide spectrum. However, Republican candidates and ordinary citizens alike appear to not have a good grasp on the current state of guns in the United States, and particularly on President Obama and the current federal government’s stances on what should be done moving forwards. Numerous Republican candidates have ripped into President Obama during televised debates and rallies, telling viewers and voters that the current President is dead set on removing all of the guns in the country if he had his way.

But does the President want to take away the country’s guns? If you own a gun, is that gun possibly going to be taken from you? And if you plan on buying a gun, how could your right to that firearm change?

I think that this is an example of an ongoing story that could be presented in an interactive way. Anybody can Google their state’s gun laws, articles on President Obama’s stances on the issue, and the opinions of potential Presidential candidates, but that is a tedious, time consuming and confusing process.

An interesting way to possibly tell this story is to create an interactive online program that would allow users to get informed on how they are affected as a citizen of the United States or as a gun owner. This information could be presented in an interactive map of the country that would allow users to click on various states to get informed on how the laws on gun control vary throughout the country. This program could also create an aggregate summation of President Obama and the federal government’s stance on gun laws and current legislation that could alter gun laws throughout the country. Users would also be able click on different Presidential candidate’s and view what they have previously said regarding gun control.

This interactive program could be tested by creating a simpler, more bare bones version to be published on the web and gauge interest by analyzing the number of clicks on the average time users spend on the site. College campuses would be a good place to test a program like this because young voters are more invested in social issues facing the country than many other demographics. Promoting this web story on college campuses would provide a good idea on how young voters like it, and whether or not it’s worth expanding the promotion of this program to a greater population.


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