Last week Bristol VR Lab opened up its doors and filled up the talk space to facilitate the Jean Golding Institute in hosting the Data Visualisation Challenge team formation workshop. The event was a chance for researchers at University of Bristol to present their data sets to VR professionals so they could form teams to enter the challenge. The challenge winners will receive £8000 funding to visualise their dataset in VR and a chance to have the prototype of their visualisation shown in the Bristol Data Dome at We the Curious.

This data visualisation challenge, hosted by the Jean Golding Institute (JGI) and in association with the Bristol VR lab and We The Curious (formerly known as At-Bristol) aims to stimulate a community interested in science content development based on state-of-the-art science and the latest VR, AR and/or 3600 data visualisation techniques. Bristol VR lab has recently opened up enabling opportunities for the development of new forms of data visualisation that could generate considerable research impact.

Bristol VR Lab’s role in the data visualisation challenge is to provide space to work on a part-time basis while individuals or teams are working on the project, including an opportunity to use our VR facilities.

The day started with an introduction from the Jean Golding Institute including an explanation of the format of the event and competition. Following the introduction were nine short presentations from University of Bristol students who were presenting their data sets. Lunch was provided after the presentations which gave attendees a chance to network. After lunch, industry professionals were given an hour to talk to the data set providers about their visualisation needs at meeting points throughout Bristol VR Lab; 10 minutes per data set.

The presentations were:

  • ‘The Virtual Fish’ Chrissy Hammond gave an animated talk about how she was looking to develop a visualisation of the data collected from zebrafish and her work on skeletal diseases.‘
  • Using virtual reality as a tool to explore nanoscale phenomena’ was presented by Freddie Russell-Pavier, Oliver Payton and Namid Shatil who would like to be able to visualise how small, small things are.
  • ‘Global atmospheric methane simulation’ was presented by Angharad Stell, a PhD candidate, who demonstrated the aspects that cause methane emissions around the globe and how she would like to see this visualised.
  • ‘Associations between primary care antibiotic prescribing and antimicrobial resistance E Coli causing UTIs’ was presented by Ashley Hammond where she highlighted the global issue of antibiotic resistance and how the geographical distribution could be visualised in an interactive map and be useful both for clinicians and to provide awareness to the public.
  • ‘3D High resolution brain MRI’ Jade Thai enthused about her Functional MRIs of patients with conditions like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Myalgic Encephalopathy (ME) and is keen to have the opportunity to be able to ‘visualise the brain in action.’
  • ‘Uncovering Greenland’s hidden landscape’ is Jonathan Bamber’s project based on 20 years of data collection from NASA and UKRCs. He showed us paper maps and other visualisations of sea level rise as a consequence of global warming but would really like to be able to have a VR walk through.
  • ‘Visualising big data to make extraordinary discoveries about human health and disease’ Oliver Davies presented on behalf of the MRC IEU where they use big data to understand human disease.
  • ‘Interactive protein-protein docking using VR’ was presented by Richard Sessions who is interested in how proteins interact with each other and is keen to develop a 3D game, matching proteins which could not only be useful for scientists developing machine learning approaches to protein-protein docking but also might appeal to the public.
  • ‘Exploring Waddington’s landscape in 3D’ The final talk of the morning by another PhD student, Natalie Thurlby, was concerning how cells differentiate and the potential for developing a 3D version of the landscape from gene expression data.

To see the presentations from this event check out the JGI – Data Set Presentations page.

Read more on the data visualisation challenge on the JGI blog.