solar tree + raspberry pi = internet data visualisation

Edible futures just got a new addition to their garden – a solar tree, courtesy of Demand Energy Equality.

Dan wanted data collected from the tree to be logged to the internet.  We used a raspberry pi to do the job because of the internet trickery involved in letting us also connect from the internet back to the tree. Some of the data is now live on cosm:

Which is where we can start having fun with data visualisation. As some of you probably know, I’ve been working on energy visualisation with my drawing robot. The graphical part of that has now moved to the internet so graphics can be previewed before sending to the robot. For example, here’s a pic generated by Bristol Hackspace’s light level feed.

What’s new and exciting for me is the possibility of doing this kind of live data visualisation  on the internet. I’ve always been working towards having the patterns drawn by the robot, but I think being able to show them on the internet has a lot of potential.

So I’ve been working on a special data visualisation for the solar tree. The idea is to allow people who aren’t interested in graphs to get a handle on how much energy is generated over the day.  In this example, a new leaf is drawn every 5 minutes. The bigger the leaf, the more energy it represents. Drag the slider to scroll through today’s energy usage.

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