Image Labs

Image Labs

curious image labs

In our Image Labs, we examine how  images can quickly deliver deeper understanding about a variety of topics.  Scroll through to see curated examples from around web, as well as some of our own work.

For the first time, NASA’s Juno spacecraft has captured detailed, mysterious images of Jupiter’s atmosphere.  The images startled scientists and have led them to rethink  what they thought they knew about the planet.

Trippy image of Jupiter's mysterious clouds from NASA. Image credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran
Trippy image of Jupiter’s mysterious clouds from NASA. Image credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran

Nuclear Weapons

Thousands of nuclear weapons stand ready to be unleashed on humanity. This image from an old civil defense handbook shows what to expect if you happen to be near a 5 megaton nuclear explosion.

image labs

To understand how a nuclear detonation could affect your area, checkout the interactive Nukemap by Alex Wellerstein, where you can plot your location on Google maps, choose a bomb yield, then  detonate  it to see the results displayed across the map.

map labs

Pixel Art 

Pixel art is a fun and graphically arresting approach to communicating through digital images. Retro, hip, clever. Here’s an animated gif from leading pixel artist Katie Belton.


Instagram Is Setting New Records

Back in 2015,  the most popular Instagram image ever was this one of Kendall Jenner, with over 2.6 million likes.  

image labs

Fast forward to 2017 when Beyonce’s twin pregnancy image/announcement won her 11.2 million likes.  Not to be outdone, Christiano Ronaldo, the European football star, received 11.3 million likes in 2017 for his fourth child’s birth announcement.

Refugees Flowing Into The EU

The  interactive image below  organizes the flow of refugees from their countries of origin to each EU member state. By clicking on origin countries, you can see what percentage of asylum-seekers live in which part of Europe — unsurprisingly, Germany is home to the largest share of most. [Click through image to access interactive chart.]

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Embedded Tweets & A Word Defined By Image

One great way to include images in digital content is to embed them. This allows for source transparency, and adds context for viewers. Here’s an example of an image used to illustrate the rare word “Aphercotropism,” embedded straight from Twitter:

  The Periodic Table Of Wearable Technology  This design feat by APX labels various elements of wearable technology, arranging them in multi-colored bubbles reminiscent of the iconic scientific table. Each bubble contains a technology descriptor, color-coded by “series.” Though impressive as eye candy, we’re skeptical of its usefulness to businesses or consumers.   apx-periodic-table-of-elements The World as 100 People This data visualization by Jack Hagley breaks down population statistics by shrinking the world’s humans to just 100 people. The visualization shows that just 5 world’s people would live in North America, 17 would be illiterate, 70 without Internet access, and 48 living on less than 2 US dollars a day. World-as-100-People_3 Click here for the full image. Planes intentionally shot down, by year. This interactive data visualization, by Samuel W Bennet at, shows the rate of incidents in which planes have been intentionally downed by bombs, missiles, and pilots. Click here for the interactive, which includes the March 2015 Germanwings crash.   Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 2.13.54 PM A comparison between Earth’s and Europa’s water. This gif, created by user 5hoursahead as seen on Imgur, compares the water on our planet with that on Jupiter’s moon, Europa. As you can see, the water amount is comparable despite the celestial bodies’ difference in size. eartheuropa Video-to-Gif Aha: At Curiousmatic, we strive to deliver understanding in new and innovative ways. With Imgur’s new video-to-gif maker, we’ve brought several salient points of understanding to life. Here are two examples: Private space companies like SpaceX give NASA a run for its money. - Imgur A graphic we like: This interactive graphic by ProPublica illustrates how over $200 million in Dark Money flows through the “Koch Network” to fund conservative nonprofits. Click through to see the below the screenshot to interact with the image!   Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 7.01.47 PM   The Aha! Selfie Campaign: Curiousmatic measures the understanding that we deliver to users. We consistently provide an average  80% more understanding compared to what  users had before reading our work. We  call this 80% more Aha! (contact us to find out more). We wanted to know what it looks like when people have that Aha! moment, so we asked folks to send in their pictures. Here’s a sample: aha customer experience   Marketers can deliver deeper understanding to their customers in an engineered, managed way. Here’s an illustration we developed in-house while writing about the topic.   Curious Aha!   BELOW: Google is evolving away from  CAPCHAs, replacing them with a seemingly simple checkbox.  Behind the process is an algorithm that senses user engagement to make sure you’re not a robot.   google-recaptcha BELOW: During the Ukraine crisis, NATO and Russia used simple images to tease and discredit each other.  Here’s what a troll war looks like: NATO Troll The image above came from  NATO’s Canadian delegation. They mockingly tweeted it as a guide for Russian soldiers.  The Russian’s were not amused. The Russian UAE embassy hit back hard when NATO released sketchy-looking satellite images that supposedly showed Russian troops in Ukraine.  Below is the Russian troll version of NATO’s satellite images:

At Curiousmatic we’re exploring ways to use gifs to deliver small units of image-based understanding about the news. This test  is focused on shadow banking (hover/touch image to advance): Below,  we use a series of animated gifs to look at the wearable computing and fitness marketplace. Engaging and fast, users can understand market dynamics very quickly (hover/touch image to advance): Below: Here’s how to set up a digital wallet.  Simple, right? Below: These awesome retro-futuristic images inspired our piece on accurate predictions from past visionaries. Below: What innocent factors are shortening your lifespan? These images explain.

Below: This how a fighter jet  appears when it breaks the sound barrier. Recently, “Zombie” drones. (pilot-less  retrofitted F-16’s) broke the sound barrier during tests. We cover the futuristic plans for U.S. war drones here.   SonicBoom Sometimes conceptualizing relationships relies on creating scale. Our graph below shows relative scale between Ukraine and Russia pertaining to some  basic facts (landmass,  population, income) . Ukraine Russia Comparison

Images can really enhance understanding around topics. Below is  an image from ebay that we used in an article to show how (sometimes) wearable technology can be under-loved. he buy-it-now price for this is just $1. You can read the full article here.   Screen Shot 2014-04-10 at 3.27.53 PM Note: Curiousmatic Labs experiment with products that aren’t quite ready for release yet. Things in the lab may change, break or vanish without warning.


Smartphones Set To Use Contextual Technology To Identify Objects

Deep learning AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology is being tested in smartphones, and may help unlock information about objects as a camera views them . Google and Facebook have made substantial investments in deep learning technology, and may be the first to provide the hardware and software on smartphones and wearable devices to help bring more context and deeper understanding  to images.

Interacting with an image seems like a compelling idea. Below is a test image using technology that creates links and hover cards on top of an image to reveal more information. Hover your mouse over the image, or touch the image on your smartphone to see more information.

Deeper News Understanding