Nicholas Felton’s Students Hack Nike+ Data
Using data taken from the popular Nike+ sensor, students under the guidance of Nicholas Felton tried to parse it out and find some interesting stuff. What they found was not just interesting patterns, but odd (and often hilarious) bad data showing runners vanishing, teleporting, and traveling through time.
These, of course, are glitches in the technology. As Shaw explains, interference probably knocked the altitude meter off base and the disappearing runners didn’t actually disappear, their Nike+ sensors just ran out of batteries. “Presumably [these are] all problems that the data crunchers at Nike wrestle with,” Felton says. And, as Felton’s students learned, it’s the job of the designer to tell that story, in this case as a cautionary tale: If you think Nike+ is the ultimate measure of your workout, take it from the guy who time traveled, and think again.
While nobody made what could have been an awesome Tardis joke, I’m sure the students got a good crash-course in data cleaning. Unfortunately the article doesn’t cover it very much. Nonetheless, it’s some pretty visuals.