Today, Magic Leap World announced third-party developers can now publish Concepts, further unlocking the art of the possible for our community. One of the first concepts comes from our partners at the Dow Jones Innovation Lab: “The Wall Street Journal Stocks Data Concept”.
The innovation lab is constantly pushing the bounds of what is possible with technology, and they wanted to explore how Magic Leap and spatial computing might unlock new possibilities for data visualization. What they’ve come up with is a way to visualize and animate WSJ market data for every US stock above a $1B market capitalization on a radial scatter plot. Dow Jones showcased early prototypes at Davos, The Wall Street Journal Future of Everything Festival and other conferences, and the concept is now available internationally and exclusively on Magic Leap World.
DOW JONES PARTNERSHIP
Thinking about the ethos of Concepts being “the art of what’s possible,” we sat down with the Innovation Tech Lead at the Dow Jones Innovation Lab, Roger Kenny, to discuss the concept they released today.
Roger leads technology direction for projects in the Dow Jones Innovation Lab, where he works across all Dow Jones brands to validate and realize disruptive projects. He’s built numerous tech prototypes across machine learning, virtual reality, augmented reality, chat, voice, vision and now spatial computing with Magic Leap. Read more about his experience creating for Magic Leap in his Medium article.
“I come from a background of editorial data visualization, and for me, Extended Reality (XR) opens up a whole new continent of possibilities. By adding a spatial dimension to data, you can unlock superpowers and bring a human understanding to complicated data sets like those we explored in our stock market concept.
The project started as an experiment in market data visualization on Magic Leap, strictly for our own exploration. We showed it off as a prototype at Davos and The Future of Everything Festival and now we are releasing it to the world so that other creators can see how they too might push the bounds of what’s possible with spatial in similar ways.
There is an incredible amount of potential to take complicated data sets and better understand them by adding a spatial dimension. That’s where some of the main use cases for broader XR adoption will come from. Today, machine learning is used to understand high dimensionality datasets because they’re too complicated for your average human. But, if people can create a spatial presentation of data, you could bring that power back to humans once again.
If you look at our concept, there are up to five different dimensions of data packaged into one graph. Even though there is an extreme amount of data there, it’s still very easy to understand. All of a sudden, your novice user can comprehend what was previously complicated. Humans are good at understanding concepts spatially - when you put something in multi-dimensional terms, your mind naturally absorbs the information better than even a traditional 2D data visualization.
While our goal wasn’t to change the way people trade stocks with this concept, it is the first time that you can watch the whole market animate at once. You can watch a sped-up time-lapse of the entire day’s movements. If you think about more familiar charts, there are few that can support this level of data throughput. With that, you can put someone who doesn’t trade or isn’t that familiar with the stock market, and when they look at the visualization, they can naturally pick out some of the most interesting stocks. While that may not benefit an expert user, it clearly represents a shift in the way that we’re understanding data overall that could have long term have implications for expert users.
From an educational standpoint, it’s much easier to absorb the kind of information where pieces relate to a whole - where you can see an anomaly and then teach someone why that is visually different from the norm vs. just looking at stock data on paper and trying to explain different concepts. With spatial computing, you’re speaking to an ancient part of the human brain; we evolved to navigate a physical world so our brains are attuned to understand space at a very deep level. A 2D version of data is so much more abstract, whereas with our concept, your brain reacts naturally towards these objects floating in space.
From a design and development standpoint, creating in spatial was an exciting challenge that forced us to rethink the way we’d normally visualize data in 2D. In our concept, the whole grid is circular - if you think about the distance between the center of the circle outward, that’s one dimension out representing the volume. When you think about graphing on a circular grid, you naturally start out thinking that the further from the center a stock is would indicate higher volume. In the end, we found out that didn’t work and ended up reversing it. The edge of the circle is zero. The higher the volume, the closer it gets to the center of the circle. That ended up being an interesting design decision because there are a lot fewer stocks that have high volume. The few stocks that migrate to the center indicate that a lot of people are trading them, and there’s a good analogy there where the highest volume stocks are “center” stage.
What I’ve learned working in XR is that there is this opportunity to make someone feel something emotionally that’s not possible with an experience on a 2D screen. Several years ago, we designed a VR experience that told the story of the dotcom bubble bursting. You rode the NASDAQ curve like a roller coaster, and when people tried the experience, we saw that it physically felt similar to the experience of going through that market volatility. You can read about the bubble bursting, but feeling the drop in your gut because of a new computing experience is something that’s just not possible in two dimensions.
It’s those types of experiences that I’m hoping to inspire by launching our concept to Magic Leap World. I want to see more developers connecting with users’ emotions in ways that are only possible when you tap into that prehistoric part of the human mind that grasps three-dimensional space better than 2D. From there, I want to see how people’s lives change for the better as the technology fully evolves.”