It had to come to this. Now the "viral" infographics has engulfed us so much we cannot longer communicate a simple fact without some sort of Photoshop-crazy or weirdly-angled, textual chart (wonder-o-wonder, where do I get these examples from?), the next frontier seems to become the world of the quantified self.
And of course, the first people to adopt self-tracking viz for viral purposes are always the coolest of the bunch: mobile communications company Nokia and snowboard manufacturer Burton recently joined forces and hooked up a snowboarder to a powerful smartphone and a series of custom sensors in order to capture 5 different measurements during a snowboard run: speed, the 3D orientation of the board, feet pressure, heart rate and physiological rush (i.e. galvanic skin response).
Nokia and Burton now invite people to "interpret" this data in a creative way, ranging from unique visualizations to original installations that are triggered by the data. Their goal is to show the winning entries at the Burton US Open in March.
As any common data geek is also a star on the black-labeled snow slopes, winners will receive VIP tickets, plus accommodation and travel. For anyone who happens to live far, far away from Stratton, US, and has a bunch of free time around the middle of March, this seems like a sweet deal. Note that the submission deadline is 21 February! Others can wait until they release all the required information to develop and make your own data-augmented snowboard.
A collection of background documentaries revealing some of the technical complexities in tracking a sport athlete in harsh, snowy conditions is available below.