As you probably know by now, we plan to run GraphConnect on Nov 6 2012 in San Francisco.
For the event, the Neo4j community team devised some interesting hacking challenges.
One challenge is recording an interaction-graph based on OpenBeacon-RFID tracking much like the one we worked on during JRubyConf.EU
The other one has a backstory:
Andreas and Michael were chatting about graph datasets, their representation and especially conference data related to GraphConnect. Andreas suggested to rake the visualizations in sand much like you’d do in a Zen-Garden. So Michael started to search the web for javascript libraries that would be able to achieve such an effect but came across something much more incredible. The kickstarter-backed Zen-Table project by Simon Hallam is a autonomous Zen garden in a box (on a table).
Zen-Table is an ingenious mechanism consisting of a microcontroller, strong neodynium magnets and a plotter like mechanism to move the “drawing head” across sand on top of a coffee- or desktop-table. Of course the table is programmable. It allows for static images from a SD-card to be drawn in the sand and also dynamic renderings via an USB-port.

The drawing is controlled with programming language called table-script which has some basic commands like: Robot.LineTo(x,y,final-speed) or Robot.LineToSmooth(x,y), Robot.Clear[X|Y](), Robot.Home() and some more. Simon created a javascript library to generate that table-script on demand as well as an image tracer. You can find all this in action at zen-table.com.


Live at GraphConnect: a Challenge for You


So our desktop Zen-Table will be there at GraphConnect, waiting for you in our Community CafĂ©. We’re super excited about having this opportunity to hack with it.
We thought about combining the Zen with a Raspberry Pi to allow external access via http and running a JavaScript engine on the Pi to generate the necessary table-script on demand.
Your challenge is now to come up with graph renderings that are well suited to visualize a small or medium size dataset on the sand of the Zen-Table. You can try your ideas at zen-table.com with some static graph data.
We look forward to your suggestions and will invite the two best ideas to come along to GraphConnect.
 

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