IoT Expo at IoT week 2019 Aarhus

We participated at the IoT expo at Ridehuset during IoT week 2019 in Aarhus. [ ]

Mindreading is all the rage

We brought our Muse headbands to the expo as a way to start a conversation about how quickly we generate data, and just how incredibly much our brain creates in no time. [ ]

The headbands was originally created to help with meditation training. They measure different brainwaves, while providing audio feedback through an app, indicating if the right meditative state of mind is achieved.

In reality they are relatively cheap EEG devices, and as such scientist have been using them to conduct experiments. This has seen them developing an app that can plot the data coming from the muse headband, using different graphs and raw numbers. This is the app we use to show, just how quickly we generate data with our mind. While the meditation app is used to lure people in and listen to us talk endlessly about data.

Meditation 9 to 5

The expo was visited by a great number of school classes from the greater Aarhus area. Who were all very interested in trying out meditation while getting their mind read. In actuality the interest was so great that we had long lines in front of our booth.

We had a lot of interesting conversations about relaxation, point scoring in the muse app and how relaxation can be more than an activity.

Patiently awaiting their turn to try the headbands in the meditation chairs

While a lot of our visitors were a bit to young for the entirety of our data agenda, we had a lot of interesting conversations with their teachers, and other participants at the expo.

And while the age of some of our participants might not have been entirely compatible with a hard data conversation. We had a lot of interesting conversations about relaxation, point scoring in the muse app and how relaxation can be more than an activity. Relaxation might be a state of mind, and not just watching youtube videos on the couch.

The muse headband and the data the children are immediately presented with (audio cues), allows us to somewhat share a mindstate. Having a common starting point, or at least, a common reference. We can discuss relaxation and what it is for us, to a much greater degree. Something that might be very needed in this time of constant input.

Micro:bits & daughterboard for realtime sounddata

We have received our micro:bit daughterboards from the Alexandra institute (

The daugtherboards enable us to send realtime sounddata to a website developed by Alexandra ( They will be used in conjunction with one of our workshops for schools, called concrete oases. The workshop will be expanded upon in our upcoming dataworkshop cookbook.

Protective box for the daughterboard

The daughterboards connect with a Micro:bit, that can be blockprogrammed with codeblocks created by Alexandra, to act as a controller for the daugtherboard. This allows us to introduce the students to both programming and large datasets.

We are very excited to test out the boards and implement them in our workshops this fall (2019).

1st concept daugtherboard

Datajournalist for a day

Teaching young people about data by making datastories

In our ongoing effort to test and find the best way to teach people about data. We decided to teach people, by having them come behind the scenes and be the ones who made a datastory. Not just the ones reading and critiquing it.

Format and setup

The workshop was made with schoolchildren in mind, both due to the length and content. As such the workshop was offered in our school catalogue, where teachers have the option of reserving the workshop for their class.

The workshop is 4 hours long, from 10 to 14 o’clock, with a short break and a larger dinner break in between. The longer format allows us to expand upon the design proces and allow the students to go through a sped up design phase, before getting to grips with the data.


We begin by introducing the students to data as a larger concept, datastories, and how datastories are used to make sense of large datasets.

After we have explained data and datastories in a larger context, we give them the following infographic from the danish statistical bureau, with data of an average 15 year old boy/girl. We use this particular infographic, as our experience show that data is a lot more interesting if it is quite closely related to the participant.

The students are asked to ponder the infographic, trying to find aspects of it that they would like to expand upon. They are given ten minutes to find ten different aspects they find interesting and would like to expand upon. This is to force them to think broadly about the data blocks in the infographic.

Research and Prototyping

After they have found their focus, the student are asked to research the data behind that particular part of the infographic, and create their won expanded stories.

Then the stories are visually prototyped on paper, with input from the workshop runners.

Final product

After the prototype have been discussed and approved, it is recreated, with the discussed modification, in canva (an online tool for easily creating infographics

For more details, the workshop and how to recreate it, will be detailed in our upcoming cookbook.

Infographics for everyone

We held our first workshop teaching citizens how to make their own infographics.

The aim of the workshop was highlighting how the participants could use readily available online tools for creating their own graphically infused stories.

Instead of focusing on the data aspect of the project, we tried in this instance to engage the citizens by helping them create the story they wanted to tell. Be it a CV, an invitation, or maybe a presentation for work visualizing, on a map, where the company’s assets were.

By helping the participants work towards an actual product, and teaching them tools and useful tricks to get there, the proces of creating (data)stories becomes concrete. Our thesis then, is that a future incorporation of data, to corroborate and strengthen your story, is more likely when the proces of creating a data story is less nebulous.

Workshop format

The workshop consisted of three major parts. First an introduction to using data in stories. Then a design- and tool introduction after which we started the work phase.

In the first part we introduce the concept of infographics and data stories; how they are used, different examples, and why they make sense. When data is everywhere making sense of it, quickly becomes a problem. Infographics and data stories are sorely needed if we want to tell or inform about subjects with complexity. We keep this introduction light and short.

after a brief design and tool introduction, we encouraged the participants to start working, relying on the usability of the tool to do most of the heavy lifting.

After our introduction to infographics and data stories, we start up with the design part. This is not a comprehensive design course in any way, but getting around basic concepts used in graphical design is helpful for the participants, in creating good looking infographics. We focus on concepts like complimentary colors and the difference between raster/bitmap and vector formats. Which tools to use, and so on. So, after a brief design and tool introduction, we encourage participants to start working, relying on the usability of the tool to do most of the heavy lifting.

The Tools

We used canva to make the infographics. Canva is a browser-based infographic tool. It is one of many options available online. We mostly chose canva due to the fact, that the non-paid option allows you to upload and output a product, almost hassle-free. There are some restrictions on output formats, but nothing really problematic. Our experience from the workshop is that the tool is easy to use – both for the tech literate and the ones less so. There are many other options out there that provides the same sort of service, and we of course encourage you to find the one that suits your needs the best.

  • Color.adobe is a tool for choosing complementary, monochromatic, analogous and so on colors. Great for avoiding the less fortunate color combinations.
  • Flaticon is one of many sites that offers free icons in different vector formats.
  • Pexel offers free high quality stock photos. Being free and high quality the selection is more limited than you will find at a paid site or a free one with a lower barrier for entry. It is a good starting point though, and will help the participants create more attractive infographics.
  • Vectr & Pixlr browser-based vector and image editors. Great for quick changes.


The workshop went exceedingly well. The participants quickly got to work on all manner of projects. The usability and ease of use in canva allowed almost everyone to get started right away with minimal help from the instructor.

All participants indicated during feedback, that the short introductory parts were very helpful in establishing and understanding the subject. The short timeframe ensured that it did not get too theoretical, while still being informative.

Letting the participants start working on their project in canva quickly was uniformly enjoyed. This is likely due to the fact that canva, and other browser-based software, is often very easy to get into for most people.

All in all the workshop went well, and can be easily adapted to other libraries.

Powerpoint used in workshop here (in Danish)