The next generation of user experience design professionals from The University of Queensland are combining their skills for the 10th year to create a playful, hands-on exhibit for all ages.
The aim of the exhibit is to find ways to bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds, with statistics showing children spend more than 30 per cent of their waking time in front of a screen.
UQ interaction design lecturer Lorna Macdonald said as technology pervades all aspects of our lives, we need to explore the implications it has for our wellbeing, relationships and day-to-day lives.
“Moving beyond traditional modes of interactions, imagining what they might be and who they might be for, we can build technology that has human values deeply embedded into its design from conception,” Ms Macdonald said.
UQ’s user experience design students are hoping to change the way we connect with products, services and each other with innovative creations designed to entice users to dance, play, make noise and think differently about the world.
One of their projects brings the creativity of a feature film sound stage to the floor of The Edge.
Visitors have the opportunity to use everyday objects to make their own sound effects – like snapping celery sticks for breaking bones and clapping coconuts for horse hooves – to contribute to the sound design of a film.
Another project aims to tackle low levels of daily activity in office workers with an augmented alarm clock named ‘Amica’, which has a health rating linked to its owner.
Amica sits on your desk, napping, until it senses you’ve been inactive for too long, when it lets you know it’s time to take a break.
Business management and information technology student Luke Giuseppin is working on a sensory interaction designed for use in an art gallery.
In a darkened space, visitors are invited to immerse themselves in a variety of soundscapes they can alter as they draw on an easel.
As they draw, sounds like lapping waves, classical music or aggressive sound effects are created based on the colour of pen used and the movement of the artist’s strokes, so the user produces both an audio and a visual artwork.
Mr Giuseppin said he enjoyed working on the project his team named ‘Chroma’.
“My team has a very diverse skillset, ranging from pure design experts to some real tech geniuses; this makes things a lot more fun for everyone since working in a team means figuring out what people are best at and constantly adapting to get the job done,” Mr Giuseppin said.
Ms Macdonald said while technology had drastically changed in the past ten years, with access to programs and hardware students from a decade ago were only dreaming of, the message remained the same.
“I hope visitors leave inspired and excited about the potential that technology has to unite us in physical space, to connect us across distance and to open up new experiences.”