Ever since we created the Highcharts 3D feature I’ve been wondering how this would look in a real virtual reality environment. We took great care to give our emulated 3D space real perspective, not only adding sides to our 2D column charts, like we see in most other charting tools.
So when I got my hands on a set of Google Cardboard, the poor man’s VR alternative, I set up a page with two charts side by side. They were exactly the same, but with the beta angle distorted by 4 degrees. This emulates how the left and the right eye sees an object from a slightly different angle.
And, guess what, it looks great! The column charts comes to life in VR space, columns look like you can reach out and touch them, even axis labels are virtually placed in front of or behind the plotting box.
So if you have a Cardboard set, take a look at these:
3D COLUMN IN SPACE
ROTATING 3D SCATTER CHART
So what is it good for? Well, for now it’s only for curiosity, but we can easily imagine exploring large spatial data sets this way. As VR becomes more commonplace, it may literally add another dimension to the art of presenting complex data in an intuitive way.
If you’re a developer and want to take this a step further, e.g. experimenting with using your smartphone’s accelerometer or something as bold as the Oculus API, give it a shot and leave us a link to your work in the comments below.
Alternatively, you can just kick back and dream about the future with this 1986 hit!