DataBot trys to intensify abstractions of data, through the haptic channel, create new metaphors and make technology feel more human. Data or data-streams are not tangible for us at all. We just see graphical abstractions of ones and zeros, visualized as folders, files or loading bars on our screens. Also the capacity or the used space on our hard- or flash drives is just visualized digital. We never know for sure, how much memory is used on the data storage, we carry around with us. Jan Barth + Roman Grasy have seen the opportunity to intensify the existing abstraction of real objects, through the haptic channel. This way, they were able to create new metaphors and make technology feel more human.

DataBot Mouse is an experiment of giving data physical properties, to make the communication/interaction between man and data more human and easier to understand. The mouse is able to communicate three different properties of data. It can show you the weight of files and folders, by braking with different force, according to the file-size. Or you can set a custom weight for files, just like the color marking function in MacOSX. So you can find important files more easily. The third property, the mouse can show you, is the activity of files and folders. By “breathing” with different intervals, it shows how much a file was opened or how busy a folder has been recently. You can switch between and adjust those features to make the mouse fit your needs. So you can choose what kind of information you want the mouse to communicate, and whether you want the effect on mouse over, or on mouse pressed.

DataBot Harddrive gives data a physical size. The hard drive grows or shrinks, according to the used space on the medium. During the file-transmission, it also visualizes the progress with a blinking light, which speed decreases till the transmission is finished. By checking the analog scale on the body, you can always see the current fill level. If an error occurs when transferring a file, the DataBot communicates this by shaking and blinking red.

Both prototypes have been developed with VVVV and Arduino.