Research data meets visualization technology at the world’s first public visualization lab

Sweden’s national science center Universeum in Gothenburg is premiering a completely new learning environment called Vislab. The lab uses visualization technology to help young people and adults better understand the world – and how it is connected with 14 different interactive stations divided into five themes: sea and water, forest and land, society, man and space guests can make their own expeditions into research data. Each theme has examples of different visualization techniques and how they can be used on different amounts of data. 

Vislab Universeum

Inside Explorer is used in four installations; the body, meteorites, the origin of life and the tree of life. The latter two visualise phylogenetic trees of life from the time all life began in the ocean – and then moved to land. The visualizations are supplemented with 3D models and scans of representative sections from the trees, where guests can make an anatomical journey through, for example, the evolution of a chimpanzee or hammerhead shark.

“The purpose is to increase young people’s and adults’ knowledge of and understanding of our world, so that more people can contribute to a sustainable future. We are convinced that the more you understand, the more you can contribute yourself. Secondly, we want to find out if and if so how data visualization can accelerate adolescent and adult learning”

What would you say is the most unique thing about Vislab?

“Vislab is a completely digital and visual experience where you increase your knowledge of and understanding of sustainable development. Vislab is also developed for young people and adults and not primarily for children, as we usually do. We do not simplify the world very much here, but on the contrary show its complexity. It requires some pre-understanding, both for the question and for the technology.” 

Christa Törn Lindhe  – Project Manager, Universeum
Tree of life application
Tree of life application

“Interspectral are so happy to be part of the Vislab project! With Inside Explorer visitors to the Visualization lab can do everything from performing a virtual autopsy of a human body, studying meteorites from the renowned Field Museum in Chicago, to learning about the evolutionary relationships of all life on earth – while dissecting a shark or a bee.” 

“We worked closely with the team at Universeum through the entire project which has resulted in, among other things, two new digital exhibits – Tree of Life, and The Origin of Life. The collaboration stretches from the early days of concept sketching to the final product that will premiere this week. An illustrated diagram called The Phylogenetic Tree was our starting point as we set out to take visitors on a journey through roughly 4 billion?! years of history.” 

Sofie Zachrisson / Content Coordinator, Interspectral 

Vislab is created by Universeum and Visualization Center C in Norrköping and opens to visitors from March 19. Get ready to discover how the earth is affected if you drink a cup of coffee, and what happens to the savannah lion if the average temperature increases. 

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