We have a new paper out as Early Access in IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications. “MarsCAPE: Mars Communicated through an Augmented, Physical Environment” describes the evaluation of a series of models of Mars produced in a project of the same name. My extremely talented colleagues created 3 Projected Augmented Relief Models (PARMs) of Mars, and through a series of public events we went out and tested them in the wild, to see how effective they were in engaging people with learning about the surface of this fascinating planet. I’m happy to say they were very well received (they are so blimmin’ cool, seriously) and proved to both help people to learn and to increase their interest in topics related to planetary science. This project was really fun, and it was great to see people getting engaged with science in a tangible way. We recently also got funding to make similar models of the surface of the Moon, which cover the area of the moonlandings (and a 3D print of the first footprint which is so amazing and I want it on my wall), so we’re hoping to get out and use them in other public events soon.
Abstract: In the last decade, vast amounts of planetary science data has been made available publicly often focused on Mars. Such data is typically disseminated via the web and made available through screen-based visualisations. However, this approach can make it difficult to convey the broader context of a feature of interest or the spatial arrangement of surface phenomena. To better support learning and engagement, we present and evaluate MarsCAPE: Mars Communicated through an Augmented, Physical Environment. MarsCAPE consists of physical models of the surface of Mars, augmented by projected information and visualizations. To assess its learning and engagement value, a structured workshop and formal evaluation were conducted. Participants reported a significant increase in knowledge, found the models engaging, and exhibited natural learning without prompting. Systems such as MarsCAPE have potential to provide an interesting, educational way for the public to access planetary data that goes beyond the capabilities of on-screen visualizations.
If you check the pdf now, you also get to see the tracked changes we submitted after review (minor revisions for the win).
In my last post I forgot to mention this upcoming paper, as well as two other bits of work, which I cursed about in the pub later that evening:
- We won Telling Tales of Engagement funding from EPSRC last year to do some work on the efficacy of using videos from popular culture (films and videogames) in teaching people about human rights violations (see this post). That work is now complete and will be written up as a paper as soon as I get round to it.
- Last May I attended the Festival of Ideas at Swansea University, and had a very interesting and productive day talking about citizen science – my notes from that day combined with several other attendees are also in the process of being written up as a discussion paper the emerging themes from the day and the intersection with HCI.