THE PROJECT

This time Vizzuality goes out of the solar system!

NASA's Kepler spacecraft is one of the most powerful tools in the hunt for extrasolar planets. The Kepler team's computers are sifting through the data, but with planethunters.org we are betting that there will be planets which can only be found via the remarkable human ability for pattern recognition.

This is purely an experimental project, we still don't know if humans will do better than computers at finding patterns, but hey, fancy giving it a try?

Our contribution:

  • Information and visual design
  • Front-end development
  • SVG and Protovis
PlanetHunters

THE VIDEO

Understand what is Planet Hunters with the next video.

  • THE CHALLENGE

    This time the challenge was double. First, we had to conceptualize and design an friendly interface that could guide the user throw each step of the analysis process. And this still needed to be scientifically valid.

    Secondly, the fluid representation of thousands of elements in a interactive and responsive interface was a great challenge that technically tested our front-end capabilities.

  • THE SOLUTION

    After some testing and benchmarking over different solutions, we decided to use the Protovis library, a light but powerful data visualization framework.

    Most libraries are not designed for great design customization, and here at Vizzuality we love fully customized experiences. Well, we ended up with lot of tweaking and profiling to get the frontend just as we wanted.

  • THE RESULTS

    A pleasant and playful site that takes advantage of the crowdsoucing processing power to speed up scientific discoveries. Another great example of cool citizen science.

    We invite you to visit the site and discover new exoplanets!

HIGHLIGHTS

  • GROMS

    Transit identification

    A drag-and-drop interaction allows to identify accurately the transit position.

  • GROMS

    Star classification

    Asking users to classify stars depending on their light curve shape.

  • GROMS

    Data visualization optimization

    Due to the amount of star data, we played with several techniques until we got a fluid and responsive interface.

PLANETHUNTERS ON THE MEDIA

  • Time

    “It works so well that in just a few short months of operation, the more than 22,000 visitors to the website have found nearly 50 potential planets”

    Read the complete article

  • The Guardian

    “Here's a fun and exciting online astronomy game using real scientific data where you, the citizen-scientist, identify stars that may have planets orbiting them.”

    Read the complete article

  • The New Yorker

    “The thread that runs through all of our projects is that these are tasks where we really need people. [...] Computers just can’t do the job.”

    Read the complete article

We take enjoyment in being a small and productive company that delivers great user experiences for stories that matter

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