Tata F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize, 2015 – Mood Board Notes

It’s probably the wrong way round to do this – I’ve already done an original quick sketch, after all – but I thought I’d put together a mood board collection of images and design ideas relating to the 2015 Tata F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize to see what else is current in the world of motorsport telemetry display design just in case I do get round to entering the competition and need to bulk up the entry a bit with additional qualification…

First up, some imagery from last year’s challenge brief – and F1 timing screen; note the black background the use of a particular colour palette:

In the following images, click through on the image to see the original link.

How about some context – what sort of setting might the displays be used in?

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From flatvision case study of the Lotus F1 pit wall basic requirements include:

  • sunlight readable displays to be integrated within a mobile pit wall;
  • a display bright enough to be viewed in all light conditions.

The solution included ‘9 x 24” Transflective sunlight readable monitors, featuring a 1920×1200 resolution’. SO that fives some idea of real estate available per screen.

So how about some example displays…

The following seems to come from a telemetry dash product:


There’s a lot of text on that display, and what also looks like timing screen info about other cars. The rev counter uses bar segments that increase in size (something I’ve seen on a lot of other car dashboards). The numerbs are big and bold, with units identifying what the value relates to.

The following chart (the engineer’s view from something called The Pitwall Project) provides an indication of tyre status in the left hand column, with steering and pedal indicators (i.e. driver actions) in the right hand column.


Here’s a view (from an unknown source) that also displays separate tyre data:



Another take on displaying the wheel layout and a partial gauge view in the right hand column:

GAUGE track

Or how about relating tyre indicator values even more closely to the host vehicle?


This Race Technology Monitor screen uses a segmented bar for the majority of numerical displays. These display types give a quantised display, compared to the continuously varying numerical indicator. The display also shows historical traces, presumably of the corresponding quantity?


The following dashes show a dial rich view compared to a more numerical display:

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The following sample dash seems to be a recreation for a simulation game? Note the spectrum coloured bar that has a full range outline, and the use of colour in the block colour background indicators. Note also the combined bar and label views (the label in the mid-point of the bar – which means is may have to straddle two differently coloured backgrounds.








The following Sim Racing Data Analysis display uses markers on the bars to identify notable values – max and min, perhaps? Or max and optimal?



It also seems like there are a few mobile apps out there doing dashboard style displays – this one looks quite clean to me and demonstrates a range of colour and border styles:

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Here’s another app – and a dial heavy display style:

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Finally, some views on how to capture the history of the time series. The first one is health monitoring data – as you;d expect from health-monitoring related displays, it’s really clean looking:



I’m guessing the time-based trace goes left to right, but for our purposes, streaming the history from right to left, with the numerical indicator essentially bleeding into the line chart display, could work?

This view shows a crude way of putting several scales onto one line chart area:



This curiosity is from one of my earlier experiments – “driver DNA”. For each of the four bands, lap count is on the vertical axis, distance round lap on the horizontal axis. The colour is the indicator value. The advantage of this is that you see patterns lap on lap, but the resolution of the most current value in a realtime trace might be hard to see?



Some time ago, The Still design agency posted a concept pitwall for McLaren Mercedes. The images are still lurking in the Google Image search cache, and include example widgets:


and an example tyre health monitor display:


To my eye, those numbers are too far apart (the display is too wide and likely occluded by the animated line charts), and the semantics of the streaming are unclear (if the stream flows from the number, new numbers will come in at the left for the left hand tyres and from the right for the right hand ones?

And finally, an example of a typical post hoc race data capture analysis display/replay.

maxresdefault (1)Where do you start to look?!

PS in terms of implementation, a widget display seems sensible. Something like freeboard looks like it could provide a handy prototyping tool, or something like the RShiny dashboard backed up by JSON streaming support from jsonlite and HTML widgets wrapped by htmlwidgets.

Tata F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize, 2015 – Telemetry Dash

I’ve run out of time trying to put together an entry for this year’s first round of the Tata F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize (brief [PDF]), which this year sets the challenge of designing a data dashboard that displays the following information:


Just taking at the data as presented turns it into somethign of an infographic design exercise (I wonder if anyone will submit entries using infogr.am?!) but the reality is much more that it needs to be a real-time telemetry dashboard.

My original sketch is a just a riff on the data as given:


(From the steering angle range, I guess straight ahead must be 90 degrees?! Which would put 12 degrees as a stupidly left turn? Whatever… you get the idea!)

Had I had time, I think I’d have extended this to include historical traces of some of the data, eg using something like the highcharts dynamic demo that could stream a recent history of particular values, perhaps taking inspiration too from Making Sense of Squiggly Lines. One thing I did think might be handy in this context were “sample and hold” colour digit or background alerts which would retain a transient change for a second or two – for example, recording that the steering wheel had been given a quick left-right – that could direct attention to the historical trace if the original incident was missed or needed clarification.

The positioning RPM then throttle is based on the idea that the throttle is a request for revs. Putting throttle (racing green for go) and brake (red for stop) next to each other allows control commands to be compared, and putting brake and speed (Mercedes silver/grey – these machines are built for speed) next to each other is based on the idea you brake to retard the vehicle (i.e. slow it down). (I also considered the idea of the speed indicator as a vertical bar close to the gear indicator, but felt that if the bars are rapidly changing, which they are likely to do, it could be quite jarring if vertical bars are going up and down t right angles to each other? What I hope the current view would do is show more of a ratchet effect across all the bars?) The gear indicator helps group these four indicators together. (I think that white background should actually be yellow?) In the event of a gear being lost, the colour of that gear number could fade further in grey towards black. A dot to the right of the scale could also indicate the ideal gear to be in at any particular point.

The tyre display groups the tyres and indicates steering angle as well as tyre temperature colour coded according to a spectrum colour scale. (The rev counter is also colour coded.) The temperature values are also displayed in an grid to allow for easy comparison, and again are match-colour coded. The steering angle is also displayed as a numerical indicator value, and further emphasised by the Mercedes logo (Mercedes are co-sponsoring the competition, I think? That said, I suspect their brand police, if they are anything like the OU’s, may have something to say about tilting the logo though?!) The battery indicator (CC: “Battery icon” by Aldendino) is grouped with the tyres on the grounds that battery and tyres are both resources that need to be managed.

In additional material, I’d possibly also have tried to demo some alerts, such as an overcooked tyre (note the additional annotation that that should have been in the original showing the degrees C unit):


and perhaps also included a note about possible additional channels – hinting at tyre pressure based on the size of each tyre, perhaps, or showing where another grid showing individual tyre pressure might go, or (more likely) assuming a user-interactive display, a push to toggle view, or even a toggling display, that shows tyre pressure or pressure in the same location at different times. There probably also needs to be some sort of indication of brake balance in there too – perhaps a dot that moves around the central grid cross, perhaps connected by a line to the origin of the cross?

The brief also asks for some info about refresh rates – Tata are in the comms business after all… I guess things to take into account are the bandwidth of the telemetry from the car (2 megabits per second looks reasonable?), the width of the data from each sensor, along with their sampling rates (info from ECU specs) and perhaps a bit of psychology (what sorts of refresh rate can folk cope with when numerical digit displays update, for example (e.g. when watching a time code on a movie?). Maybe also check out some bits and pieces on realtime dashboard design) and example race dashboard designs to see what sorts of metaphor or common design styles are likely to be familiar to team staff (and hence not need as much decoding). Looking back at last year’s challenge might also be useful. E.g. the timing screen whose data feed was a focus there used a black background and a palette of white, yellow, green, purple, cyan and red. There are conventions associated with those colours that could perhaps be drawn on here. (Also, using those colours perhaps make sense in that race teams are likely to be familiar with distinguishing those colours and associating meaning with them.)

I’ve never really tried to put a dashboard together… There’s lots to consider, isn’t there?!

Lazyweb Request – Node-RED & F1 Timing Data

A lazyweb request, because I’m rushing for a boat, going to be away from reliable network connections for getting on for a week, and would like to be able to play from a running start when I get back next week…

In context of the Tata/F1 timing data competition, I’d like to be able to have a play with the data in Node-RED. A feed-based, flow/pipes like environment, Node-RED’s been on my “should play with” list for some time, and this provides a good opportunity.

The data as provided looks something like:

<transaction identifier="101" messagecount="121593" timestamp="14:57:10.878"><data column="23" row="1" colour="PURPLE" value="31.6"/></transaction>
<transaction identifier="103" messagecount="940109" timestamp="14:57:11.219"><data column="2" row="1" colour="YELLOW" value="1:41:13" clock="true"/></transaction>
<transaction identifier="101" messagecount="121600" timestamp="14:57:11.681"><data column="2" row="3" colour="WHITE" value="77"/></transaction>
<transaction identifier="101" messagecount="121601" timestamp="14:57:11.681"><data column="3" row="3" colour="WHITE" value="V. BOTTAS"/></transaction>
<transaction identifier="101" messagecount="121602" timestamp="14:57:11.681"><data column="4" row="3" colour="YELLOW" value="17.7"/></transaction>
<transaction identifier="101" messagecount="121603" timestamp="14:57:11.681"><data column="5" row="3" colour="YELLOW" value="14.6"/></transaction>
<transaction identifier="101" messagecount="121604" timestamp="14:57:11.681"><data column="6" row="3" colour="WHITE" value="1:33.201"/></transaction>
<transaction identifier="101" messagecount="121605" timestamp="14:57:11.686"><data column="9" row="3" colour="YELLOW" value="35.4"/></transaction>


as a text file. (In the wild, it would be a real time data feed over http or https.)

What I’d like as a crib to work from is a Node-RED demo that has:

1) a file reader that reads the data in from the data file and plays it in as a stream in “real time” according to the timestamps, given a dummy start time;

2) an example of handling state – eg keeping track of drivernumber. (The row is effectively race position, Looking at column 2 (driverNumber), we can see what position a driver is in. Keep track of (row,driverNumber) pairs and if a driver changes position, flag it along with what the previous position was);

3) an example of appending the result to a flat file – for example, building up a list of statements “Driver number x has moved from position M to position N” over time.

Shouldn’t be that hard, right? And it would provide a good starting point for other people to be able to have a play without hassling over how to do the input/output bits?