RENCI looks at InfoMesa as a tool in the SCR

CHAPEL HILL, NC, November 6, 2008 – The staff at RENCI’s engagement center on the UNC Chapel Hill campus have been using InfoMesa, a Technology Demonstrator being built by a community of developers and sponsored by Microsoft Life Science, as a tool for working with datasets in the center’s Social Computing Room (SCR). The SCR operates as a 360-degree desktop with visual displays running on all four walls, using 12 projectors behind each wall.

The room is designed to help researchers work more intuitively and collaboratively in a data-rich environment. If you think of the four walls of the SCR as a whiteboard, InfoMesa allows any kind of data or visualization to be added to the whiteboard. Its tools are interactive, allowing data to be absorbed from data sources like Oracle, SQL Server, Excel spreadsheets, XML or even Cloud-based Web services.

Sam Batterman, a Microsoft specialist in business intelligence, data visualization and sensemaking for the life sciences, visited RENCI last summer to help integrate InfoMesa into the SCR. InfoMesa development is ongoing and many new features are expected to be added in the months to come.

For more on RENCI’s work with InfoMesa, visit Instance of Idea, the blog by Mike Conway, systems specialist at RENCI at UNC Chapel Hill. Or Sam Batterman’s blog.