This project was inspired from the Open Data conference I attended in Brisbane Feb 2016.

Open Data is seen throughout the internet and most application on smart phones exploit this information. For instance, weather visualisation is collected by multiple source throughout the world. Airport collect this data for the obvious safety reasons, BOM (Bureau of Meteorology) have sensing stations all around the world.

Platforms like, or weather underground, supplies data on weather. This is a crowd sourced open platform, allowing anyone, with an internet connect, to upload data from their own weather station. At the moment in the greater city area of Brisbane Australia, there is approximately 100 weather stations.

The conference discussed a wanting for governments and organisations to create and release Open Data., is an example, showing the location of criminal acts within an area of a location. This can lead to many research factors, sociology, criminology not to mention real estate values etc.

Open Data also, in my opinion, stands up for innovation. Like SMS or text messaging, the exact use was unknown until it gets into the hands of the users. The user, with the help of the internet and open accessibility of data, can be anyone.

Many participants at this Open Data conference discussed data visualisation. The comments from these specialists was how this data is represented, and would always talk of graphics and visual outputs.  Even comments of how organisation will graphically represent the data for the aesthetics reasons and not for the transmitting of information.

For me data visualisation seems to be stuck within the flat 2d world of a screen; the smart phone and computer monitor. I questioned how else can we use the data. A lot of this data is obtained from the real world – like weather sensing – but often remains in that intangible place. Can we return this information back into the physical? I want to disrupt the though pattern of data and have people  look up from their screens.

This is Temptouch

An artwork that would represent the temperature of a given location in the world. However I am interested in the how a person can feel the temperature.

This project was extending into the internet of things realm. I have done little work in this area and have now used open technology – Arduinos etc – to create anything that talks to the internet. Works for my PhD – as it deals with Open Data, Open Technologies, and Open communities to extract information.










My first step was to consider the ways in which I could create the temperature plate. I would need to heat and cool the touch plate. I have played with Peltier chips and made the decision to use this device again. Heating and cooling can be achieved by a reversal of polarity of the current.

The main control system is a Arduino – maybe an esp8266 (for wireless connect) – and I would use a motor control module for the Peltier. The motor control would save me from fabricating my own circuit.


Ok now for the weather data

I’ve set up a Node-MCU or esp8266 controller with a display screen. This would help be to debug – and display the output from the weather data I intend to parse from the net.

Display – fine

Connecting to the net – great.

After a couple days of searching I have discovered code on GitHub that works. It required me to obtain a API key from Weather Underground – easy – and now to put the different segments of code together.

This is where the frustrations state – the code worked well, but when I started to combine everything together- all the different code I required display temp, motor control etc. – It became a nightmare.

It seems to me that people have their own agenda when writing code – which is fine – so it’s not design to be a part of a system, it is for itself. FRAUSTRATING. I was shown a video from a computer scientist name Brett Victor which made me rethink how I would do this.

I started to consider visual languages, can this project be done with written code??

This got me into Node-Red and switching the project into using a Raspberry Pi. (this is another story )


Screen shot of Node-Red programming interface.


OK – Back to work