Overall, day one went a long way to setting the scene for the conference. There were some clear debates about data: who should collect it, the ethics of big data use and consent, etc. But, and I'm sure I'm biased, there wasn't enough on data visualisation. It seemed an almost side discussion, which was a shame -- especially since there was such a discussion of the politics of data use.

Several tracks tomorrow are set to look at data visualisation, but I continue to argue that if we don't focus on this critical element of the process, we've got nothing. There was a great example on Twitter the other night of Anscombe's quartet - where four datasets had the same mean, correlation and linear regression, but looked completely different when charted. Seeing these differences is critical when looking at data.


But one thing I did see today that was completely revolutionary was virtual reality headsets from Oculus with Samsung Galaxy phones presenting a virtual reality film that drops the user straight into a Syrian refuge camp. It's the most novel thing I've seen in a long time and is a total game changer for research comms. It builds empathy by making you a complete part of the situation (see pic above). Apparently it was filmed with a device comprising of 12 GoPro cameras and the Oculus technology stitched it all together. The headset is literally a smartphone stuck in front of your eyes and Google Carboard is already a $30 version (minus the smartphone). Genuinely, if this is the future of film, I couldn't be more excited. But if it's the future of research comms? Well, the possibilities are endless!

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