Plotting periodic data as 3D spirals

 

Sculptural data may be particularly useful for showing periodic processes. Standard graphs are rectangular, which produces a discontinuity as your eye skips from the right side of the page back to the left and makes it difficult to follow trends across this gap.  By plotting the data as a spiral ( eg https://eagereyes.org/techniques/spirals) you avoid this break and can rotate the graph to examine it from all angles.

These graphs show the behavior of mice as they run on a wheel over 13 days. The graph on the right plots a healthy mouse.  The data start in the middle and spiral out in a counter clockwise fashion.  The mouse wakes up in the evening, starts running and runs off and on for about 12 hours.  When the lights turn on in the morning, the mouse rests and barely engages the excercise wheel until it chooses to excercise the next evening.  The graph on the left tracks a mouse that got sick during the course of the experiment.  It started our excercising but stopped running in the evenings after 3 days of normal behavior.   After 5 days of inactivity, the mouse slowly started excercising again, increasing its activity incrementally each day.

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When you hold one of these graphs you can view it from different angles that lets you make different comparisons as shown in the videos.

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