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Android Canvas: Building one of the worlds largest Interactive Data Visualization experiences

Supratim Chakraborty

HCI Researcher

School of Interactive arts and technology

Supratim Chakraborty is an HCI research graduate at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver. He specializes in Data Visualization Interactions, Design Research and User Experience Design. He is also a Design advisor for Playsolar, a sustainable energy B2C startup based out of Bangalore. He has also provided design consultation to several early-stage startups in India through his consultancy service UX symphony. He has previously worked as a UX designer for 1mg, Indias biggest healthcare platform serving more than 100 cities nationwide. He has also worked as an Android Developer for NewtonMail. The most respected consumer-facing multi-platform email client in the market.


Have you wondered what would it be like to translate a traditional Android app experience to an 80-inch touch surface? In the process of making my data visualization tool VizInteract to work with large displays, I managed to find great insights and answers to the former question. Due to the need for vanilla AOSP to send a video stream and read sequential multi-touch events, a traditional Android Tablet with HDMI display out cannot serve the purpose. To solve this problem, we decided to use the Android-x86 project and an external Infrared touch screen overlay to run Oreo on a large display and support 12 touch points. In this talk, I will share how I modified the Android-x86 kernel to add driver support for an IR touch overlay. I will share my learnings from building multi-touch experiences on unnaturally large surfaces and how that poses interesting challenges, especially for a data visualization tool. Most notably, what are the key changes in the UX of affording dragging, rotation, pinch to zoom and scale gestures on an 80-inch tablet vs a regular android tablet. Finally, I will explore the constraints of working with Canvas API and a large amount of numerical data processing.