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Technology Simplifies Big Data For the Human Brain

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A new system will adapt data to avoid brain overload.

Sixteen partners in nine European countries are collaborating to develop a way to present datasets that is easier to understand.

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A project called Collective Experience of Empathic Data Systems (CEEDS) involving 16 partners in nine European countries hopes to present large datasets in a way that is easier for the brain to understand.

CEEDS contains an eXperience Induction Machine that adjusts to users' reactions, including gestures, eye movements, and heart rate. CEEDs coordinator and University of London professor Jonathan Freeman says the system identifies if participants are getting tired or overloaded with information, and adapts the data accordingly to avoid brain overload. "It either simplifies the visualizations so as to reduce the cognitive load, thus keeping the user less stressed and more able to focus," he notes. "Or it will guide the person to areas of the data representation that are not as heavy in information."

Users experience virtual reality so they can "step inside" the large datasets, and CEEDS could potentially be used to help students study more efficiently or journalists to cross-check sources faster. The CEEDs technology also could help with inspecting satellite imagery and oil prospecting. Museums in the Netherlands, Britain, and the United States are interested in using the technology for conducting end of World War II commemorations in 2015.

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