We present a design-based exploration of the potential to reinterpret glyph-based visualization of scalar fields on 3D surfaces, a traditional scientific visualization technique, as a data physicalization technique. Even with the best virtual reality displays, users often struggle to correctly interpret spatial relationships in 3D datasets; thus, we are motivated to understand the extent to which traditional scientific visualization methods can translate to physical media where users may simultaneously leverage their visual systems and tactile senses to, in theory, better understand and connect with the data of interest. This pictorial traces the process of our design for a specific user study experiment: (1) inspiration, (2) exploring the data physicalization design space, (3) prototyping with 3D printing, (4) applying the techniques to different synthetic datasets. We call our most recent and compelling visual/tactile design boxcars on potatoes, and the next step in the research is to run a user-based evaluation to elucidate how this design compares to several of the others pictured here.
Sculpting Visualizations © 2021