Twheel and Information Overload

Twheel and Information Overload

Michael A. Thompson, FASCO, MD, PhD

Aug 08, 2012
Check out twheel, a new iPhone/iPad app for visualizing Twitter feeds released just yesterday, August 7, by Fluid Interaction. It uses cognitive science and circles to display and interact with complex data sets.

According to EContent magazine, "Finland-based company Fluid Interaction announced the release of a new app called twheel. With this app, iPhone users will be able to change the interface to be visualized as a rotating wheel, offering a game-like interface for Twitter. The app will display the most relevant data with visual pop-outs such as colors and form deviations.

“The company believes that by using twheel, it will make using Twitter much faster than relying on list-based interfaces. Twheel can be downloaded from the iPhone app store and is currently available in Europe, North and South America, India, and Australia, with plans to expand further at a later time."

In a Wired news article, titled "Twheel reimagines Twitter with cognitive science and circles," they noted that: "‘Twheel is designed to help our brains process information,’ says Fluid Interaction's chairman, Kristian Lukander. ‘Twheel does not curate or filter information, but reshapes the way data is displayed based on our understanding of human cognition.’"

Can you think of any uses in oncology?

Even if you aren't on Twitter, check it out and think about a similar mindset applied to basic cancer science data analysis, as well as potential applications in patient communication interactions. The twheel mindset as noted in their blog is "to provide better tools for discovery" without putting you in a pre-determined "filter bubble." For instance, using a visual weighting methodology, this might be useful to patients who need to sift through all of the "noise" offered by the Internet or other sources to find the "signal" they need for the situation they are in. Imagine if the 70 points of possible adverse events were visualized separately by severity as well as frequency. Other uses could include visualizing symptom scales in oncology and/or palliative care. As noted: "It's an approach that neatly addresses the concept of information overload . . . " 

Given that physicians and patients have information overload, this might be one strategy—cognitive science/gaming strategy—to address that. Fellow ASCO Connection columnist Mike Fisch, MD, also explored this in his recent post, “Bringing Gamification to the Serious World of Cancer Care.”


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