Big Data Cloud

Jingwen Zhu

Big Data Cloud provides people with a visible and tangible experience of interacting with big data.


In the Applications class, we had a lot of speakers talk about big data. They discussed how big data benefits our lives, how it inspires us, and how it make us transparent, etc. But big data remains obscure to me. What does big data looks like? Is there an invisible cloud somewhere? What would big data in the cloud look like if it were tangible? For my Physical Computing and Intro to Computational Media final project, I created the Big Data Cloud, that gets data from users, and give the data back to them.

In this installation, people are not only encouraged to interact with the cloud, but also interact with the data. When a user comes under the cloud, a mobile phone drops down from the cloud, with a question displayed on the screen. After the user types the answer to the question, the phone “uploads” back into the cloud. After thunder and lightening, the cloud rains. The big data rain is in the form of a printed roll of paper with the users' answers to the question. Additionally, the most frequently repeated words are projected as puddles on the ground. Users can play either with the projected raindrops, or read all the answers on the receipt.

In our daily life, we are interact with big data every day. We provide our data to the cloud, and get data back from it. Yet this repeated occurance falls to the background because we use big data so often that it goes unnoticed. By creating the Big Data Cloud I provide people with a visible and tangible experience of interacting with big data, and let them to rethink about how big data affects our lives.


Introduction to Computational Media, Introduction to Physical Computing, Intro to Fabrication