Minecraft Posters In Patent Drawing Style

My job has me file design patents on all sorts of retarded things. A piece of me dies every time I get a patent cube. I can’t wait till the entire software IP system goes down the drain. The only fun part of it is the drawing. I’ve always liked the patent drawing style. Being both explanatory and expressive with black and white is challenging. And fun.

Anyways, I felt bored over the New Year’s break. I recreated some Minecraft textures as an experiment:

Since they don’t look too bad, I went on to rebuild some Minecraft machines in Rhino. The result is two fake patent filings by Steve. One for automatic chicken cooker (click to enlarge):

Another one for charcoal cooker:

Both configurations are fully tested in game. The lava block in the chicken cooker is destroying cooked meat (while leaving the feathers) in 1.8.9. Bummer, it used to work for me in earlier versions. For now, I’d substitute lava with water.

What’s next? I’ve no idea, Monday is on the horizon, I need a beer. Let me know what you think. 

I’m not associated with Mojang nor Minecraft, nor am I the original inventor of the machines illustrated above. You may use the images freely as long as I’m credited. I’m in no way responsible for any damage caused by my illustrations, including but not limited to in-game death, loss of sleep and antisocial behavior. If you’re a nice human, friend @Pessimistress on all the game-y-internets. 

Tools: Rhino, Illustrator, Minecraft


A Visualization of Version Histories

This is just a side project. So the 6 of us have been working some internal project on TFS (5 devs and I. Sorry for all the destructive check-ins guys. Don’t lose your faith in designers because of me). One night I extracted the version histories and had some fun with it.

The visual is inspired by Context Free. I first played with the tool in ’07 and was impressed by the powerful outcome of combining  recursion and randomness. In this visualization each curve(represents a file or a folder) wanders freely in space and gradually fades out until it gets some attention. Each is colored by the last person who made changes. A curve branches when something derives from it (files added to folder; branching versions; etc.) The tree does get out of structure and less readable after some time. I’ll try some improved concept when I have the time. 

Full view (click to enlarge):

Version history tree, full view

With my contribution highlighted:

Version history tree with contributor highlights

Click here to play with the visualization. It should work with all decent browsers that support canvas. You can highlight the map by contributor or file. Hover over a node to see detail information. I did mess up the file names so (hopefully) I’m not violating any company policy. Please don’t get me in trouble. :-p

Tools: R, HTML5

Health Infoscape

Senseable City Lab partnered with GE to create new ways of understanding human health. Our team created a disease network by analyzing data from over 7.2 million anonymized electronic medical records, taken from between January 2005 and July 2010, across the United States.

Barabasi’s lab has published their disease networks generated by genetic similarity in 2007. In our first attempt, diseases/disorders are considered associated if a patient has got them at the same time or sequentially. The resulting network gives us new insight as to how closely connected some seemingly un-related health conditions might be. Such results force us to re-examine conventional categories of disease classification, as the boundaries between traditional disease categories are thoroughly blurred.

I made this interactive map for the general public to browse the data. You can switch between two layouts – network and circular. Dot sizes are proportional to the percentage of patients who sought medical attention in total population. Width of links shows the strength of connections. Hovering over a disease pops up detailed information. Clicking on a disease highlights its connections. It is also possible to filter the links by gender / category / keywords. Zooming and panning is supported. The aim is to let people locate their disease of interest quickly in a context.

[youtube width=520 height=324]ln6arKcE99E[/youtube]

It is a huge network. The first data files I got was more than 50M in size. It took me some time to get the loading time and real-time performance of the app to an acceptable level. I tried several schemes to filter the links while keeping the look and the structure. The force-directed layouts are pre-calculated. I ended up hard coding the network data instead of loading it from an external file, which helped a lot. The final package was ~1.5M, quite satisfying. And I do like the transition animation a lot.

The network vis was made with Flex and the visualization library Flare, and the user interface with Flash CS4. I’ve had some experience with Actionscript 3, but this is my first time learning Flex. I don’t know if it’s just my computer (Snow Leopard + Firefox 4 + Flash Builder 4), but debugging a Flex application was so much pain. The Flash plugin just crashes at every breaking point. Flare is a really well-done library, I’m truly grateful, but there is so much missing in its documentation. You have to dig into its source to discover the vast possibility of it.

The project was done around the time of my thesis “Seeing Differently: cartography for subjective maps based on dynamic urban data” (and the part of my life that I’m reluctant to look back to). I think the time I really worked on the core part of it was two weeks, then a lot of minor changes over a two months period. This is probably the most polished interactive vis among all projects I’ve posted. Thanks Eric and Dom! 🙂

Team: (Senseable) Carlo Ratti, Eric Baczuk, Dominik Dahlem, Xiaoji Chen
(General Electric) Camille Kubie, Aimee Atkinson

Tools used: Flash, Flex, Flare, R