The Balloonascope is a giant 3D graphing tool made of balloons. John & Neil developed the Balloonascope as part of research carried out for FOLLY and Lancashire Libraries, investigating how people felt about the technology they were using in libraries and how they hoped people might use technology in libraries in future.


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Balloonascope at Burnley library

 Balloonascope at Burnley library


People used it to visualise how different technologies relate to each other using metaphors of space and proximity on a human scale. The Balloons were useful to describe intangible concepts such as technologies, as simple tangible things and they have the added bonus of being a bit silly and easy to position in space.


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Completed Balloonascope by the bookshelves


Balloonascope at Accrington library


People were asked to write the name of a kind of technology onto a balloon and then to position it on a vertical and horizontal axis. On the horizontal axis, the closer the centre the more the technology was valued. On the vertical axis, the lower down the balloon was placed the more accessible they considered the technology to be. So the higher up it was, the more out of reach it was considered to be.

The Balloonascope graphs were then recreated as 3D models, animated and soundtracked with comments from participants. The resulting infographics were used as stimulus to inform Lancashire Libraries and Folly develop their digital arts strategy.


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Balloonascope by the fiction section


Balloonascope at Lancaster library


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MSN messenger balloon



Balloonascope at Lancaster shopping centre