Week 12 Reflection

Week 12 Reflection

Interactivating the City

This week marks the final week of Interactivating the City and our final design proposal will be presented to Bert, George and the rest of the class. Our group has worked long days and late nights to produce a prototype for our design which we feel, will greatly enhance Sydney’s primary nightlife district while simultaneously aiding congestion, contributing towards managing antisocial behaviour and will provide a direct and safe passageway for departing commuter of Kings Cross, to their desired mode of transport.

This week, we really worked hard in collating all of our information since week 7, and working on our final presentation, as well as experimenting with our prototype and gaining user responses. While we were unable to experiment in Kings Cross, we still conducted experimentation in Bert’s Interactivation Studio which allowed us to see how users would respond to our design. Some pictures of this experimentation is shown below:

 Andrew and Bec experimenting with the DJ booth and projections 

Our concept was to create an outdoor play escape in an urban setting and to do this, we suggested a re-design proposal of central Kings Cross by using a pre existing alleyway, Llankelly Place, as an interactive pathway to the transport hub on Orwell Street. We focused on integrating the responses from stakeholders interviewed in the early research phase and then incorporating an interactive medium that appealed to Generation Y. We introduced a centralized transportation system in Kings Cross to aid congestion of traffic and people, which would improve the efficiency of the environment with little interference to existing infrastructure.

In our final presentation, we were asked to draw connections to previous research findings, and so apart from week to week findings, I found it really interesting to look back to the essays which we submitted in week 6, and see what had changed, what had evolved and what initial research we investigated which had now come to fruition in our final proposal. I chose 3 primary connections to research findings which I thought were most apt:

  1. According to Interaction Design – Beyond Human-Computer Interaction (2002), ‘in interaction design, we investigate the artifact’s use and target domain by taking a user-centered approach to development…this means that users’ concerns direct the development rather than technical concerns’ (Rogers et al. 2002). It is thus with this mentality that we strived to create our purposeful design which would fulfil the needs of the users.
  2. In Physical Computing-Sensing and Controlling the Physical World with Computers (2004), as authors Dan O-Sullivan and Tom Igoe quote Byron Reeves and Clifford Nass approvingly, regarding their statement on video projections, commenting ’the size of an image really does matter in evoking a more emotional response from your users’ (O-Sullivan and Igoe 2004, p.373). From this, the authors infer, and agree with Beardsley et al. that the bigger the image, the stronger the reaction from people and the better the memory becomes of that image – we decided to make our projection (size x size) and have (number) camera feeds so there is an array of imagery on the projections which will evoke a greater emotional response with the user of the space
  3. Furthermore, ‘the potential to make many everyday surfaces into displays’ (Beardsley et al. 2005, p.43) means that we can utilize projections on almost any surface. The key is to add to this concept by incorporating interaction via users, as ‘physical objects around us become entwined with digital data (Beardsley et al. 2005, p.43). The use of everyday objects intertwined with electronics is another theme we researched and thoroughly explored in our final design. In our previous research, we observed the physical space of Kings Cross and took a number of photographs of possible projection spaces which would then enable this partnership. Though we didn’t use the pictured spaces below as our final choice, had we not investigated as to where such spaces exist, then we wouldn’t have come to our final idea of Llankelly Place.

The map below shows our final placing of our interactive passageway within the context of Kings Cross. We have decided to make Darlinghurst Road a one-way street which will help to improve the congestion of traffic and enable the proposed transport hub at the end of the interactive passage way, to run as a ‘one-way-in-one-way-out’ type of area. The diagram underneath the map shows how commuters will enter the proposed interactive passageway, and exit into the transport hub.


As mentioned earlier, since we could not test out our design proposal in Kings Cross, we created a rendered version of how our design would look in Llankelly Place, and this can be seen below.


The different effects on the actual DJ stand are shown on the image below. The 2 discs have touch sensors underneath them, so when you spin them, the effects of the projection change. Similarly, the ‘volume sliders’ also have sensors wired through them, and the effects of the projection change as these are moved up and down. We have included a breathalyser in the final design, and thought it hasn’t been wired to create an effect via projections yet, our aim was to activate the whole system via the user blowing onto the breathalyser which would then calculate what alcohol content this person is currently on, and then it would alter how fast the images in the projections perform their tasks. For example, if the reading on the breathalyser was a reading between 0.03-0.05, which is defined as ‘mild euphoria’, then the speed at which the rotations and effects of the images would be altered according to this reading. Similarly, if the user was very intoxicated, no matter how fast they were spinning the discs, the projections would be slow/fuzzy/blurry/delayed, because it would be a representation of how their mind would be perceiving these images.


And so as the semester wraps up, I can honestly say that I am so thrilled with what our group has accomplished, how we’ve worked together to bounce ideas off one another, and how we’ve designed a working prototype which has evolved as our idea has. We have worked exceptionally hard and I am really pleased with our final idea, design and presentation!

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Week 11 Reflection

Week 11 Reflection

As we approach the conclusion of our Interactivating the City lab, our final design proposal is nearing its completion. We have worked this entire semester from a broad idea to a finite design proposal which we hope, will contribute to ‘Designing Sydney’ in a positive way. As we narrowed down our design proposal, our desire for our final design proposal is to: 

Provide Kings Cross commuters with a transportation hub, which engages exiting visitors with interactive urban graffiti. The design will aim to assist in minimising antisocial behaviour, congestion issues and to provide a direct and safe passageway for departing commuters to their desired mode of transport.

Over the course of the lab, I feel that I have learnt so much in relation to how the ability of technology promotes limitless possibilities. I think that our group has really tried to ‘nut out’ how we could hone in on, what was at one stage, a very broad idea, and make it something unique, warranted and accessible for the users of this area. We have tossed design ideas back and forth, used each others’ strengths to create a well rounded design idea, and we have really believed in our idea, right from the start. While we did cross many speed bumps in relation to how our design idea would come to fruition, I think it was only a necessary part in how we have come to where we are today.

We will be further experimenting with our prototype on Tuesday and documenting our experimentation process. The pictures below show the DJ discs and box that Dan was able to build in the workshop, which will be the tangible element of our design. The touch sensor will be placed underneath the discs, and where the volume knobs are at the top of the box, the user will be able to move these up and down, and through the live camera feeds, the images will become distorted, pixelated and coloured, which will add to the effects of the projection.

Since we finalised using the pre-existing space of Llankelly Place in Kings Cross to ‘house’ our interactive passageway and transport hub, we feel that this adds to our design as because of this pre-existing walkway, there is limited interference and change to the landscape when we ‘install’ our design idea. We felt that this decision made our design proposal more plausible and relevant as we are designing for the current space – we do not want to just propose an idea, but rather, an idea which has the potential to be implemented in the space. 

This week, our group had some misunderstandings in regards to how we would actively engage the users of our design. Would we have a sign that ‘invited’ the users to engage with our design? Would we have to shine projections out of the passageway which would hopefully engage people to want to find out what was inside? Would we have to tell people at all? Would they beable to figure it out for themselves?

I soon realized that it’s not only about the design itself, but there are so many contributing factors that affect how the design is perceived, used/not used, among many other considerations.

While we have decided on this passageway in Llankelly place which leads to the transport hub at the end, and the DJ booth and projections are within the passageway, we were unsure as to how many ‘booths’ there would be, if they were only to be positioned in the passageway or if they were to be closer to the hub and how the positioning of the booths may/may not affect congestion. So while we had decided and worked towards our final prototype, there were still elements which needed to be altered and often this happens when you least expect it! 

Nonetheless, the changes to our design has resulted in a better design space which also recognizes the possibility that the weather is a variable that we need to consider in this space – with this the case, we have incorporated a ceiling which doesn’t interfere with entry points or the shops that are a part of Llankelly Place, but rather adds to the overall atmosphere. We also decided on adding lighting and sound so that the interactive experience we create becomes an atmosphere too. By doing so, we are able to distract users from possibly engaging in antisocial behaviour, as well as engaging them in a form of entertainment.

Below is a photo of Dan experimenting with one of the projections.

As we will be presenting our final presentation on Friday, I feel that we have made a solid effort in actualizing our design from an idea, to a built prototype. I am really proud of what we have been able to achieve and I am looking forward to presenting our design idea and proposal to the class.

Until next week!

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Week 10 Reflection

Week 10 Reflection

Interactivating the City

This week’s lecture was entitled: ‘Our Future World – Trends, Risks and Scenarios’ by Stefan Hajkowicz.

We looked at thinking about the future by looking into the past. There is a demand for knowledge about the future. For example, when September 11 occurred, there was a massive rise in people wanting to know about future planning. So, if we look to past inventions by CSIRO, we may be able to use this information to inform how we act on future trends. For example, in the 1950s, CSIRO developed the first permanent press pleating fabrics, in the 1970s they developed fire resistant textiles and in 2010 CSIRO is currently working towards how to delivery welfare services so as to break the cycles of entrenched poverty. If we look back at these past inventions, then we are able to understand what has been configured in order to help solve part of a problem space. In Interactivating the City¸ the concept of the problem space and contributing design ideas to help improve the problem space area is of utmost importance. In relating to our group design project, we have really worked hard on working towards understanding this idea and constantly developing ideas so as to create a design which has a purpose and function as well as a sound design premise.

CSIRO Press Pleating


CSIRO Fire Resistant Textiles 

On Tuesday, we headed down to the Interactivation Studio and worked with Bert and Yos on configuring sensors and adding them to Max MSP Jitter. We also worked on patches relating to distortion of the images via the USB cameras and worked on effects which create another dimension to our design proposal.

Working in Progress (above)


Friday’s lecture was delivered by RMIT lecturer Frank Feltham. He explained the importance relating to research through design and focused on a specific project he had been a part of. He broke down the 3 main steps in the design process into:

  1. Design Framing
  2. Design Project
  3. Design in Use

He spoke about creating tangible user interaction which would enhance the design process as one is then able to take control of the device which resembles the real design and then the object has meaning and representation of what it is doing.

Through engagement, exploration and expression, we are able to further delve into the design process and when we come to prototyping and creating a working model, we can be content about how we have gone about exploring every possibility so as to make our design the best it can be. 

So in saying this, we again went down to the Interactivation Studio on Friday and began adding to our established patches so as to make our design rich in possibilities for user interaction. When Jo and Cath went to investigate the proposed space for our projections last week, it enabled our group to have a sound understanding of where our projections will be taking place. This gives us a physical space which we are now tailoring our projections too. By Friday, the breathalyzer sensor has arrived and so we tested it out and tried to connect it to Max MSP so it could work within our existing patches.

As we near the end of this assignment, I can honestly say that we have thoroughly explored various possibilities in terms of our design approach. At the beginning, no one in our group knew exactly how we would tackle our chosen problem space, but, we have managed to work together and bring our evolution of ideas into a design proposal which is both interesting and well as dynamic and user interaction rich.

I look forward to the final weeks of the project, the remaining work we have to accomplish and how the culmination of 14 weeks of solid work will come into fruition as we see our final working model. 

Until next week!

Images Bibliography:



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Week 9 Reflection

Week 9 Reflection

Interactivating the City

In this week’s lecture, Nick Ritar spoke of the topic: 

‘Milkwood Permaculture’ – Food and eating

Permaculture is defined as the method to designing human settlements and agricultural systems that mimic the relationships found in natural ecologies. Permaculture is concerned with all basic human needs and is comprised upon 3 main core values:

  1. care for the earth
  2. care for each other
  3. setting limits on consumption of population 

Though Ritar’s lecture didn’t really have much to do with our group’s design proposal idea, Ritar did give an interesting analysis as to how we can better our city through this ecological approach. He really pushed the potential relating to agriculture and how emphasized the frightening question; – “how much will ‘we eat’, before we simply run out of land?”. So while we may not be dealing directly with this problem in our design space, we cannot simply ignore the impact of the built environment and other external sources, on the fragility of our land. There has been some talk over the last few years especially, relating to our ecological footprint, and Ritar highlighted this concept more clearly during this lecture.

Moreover, Yos spoke to us this week about ‘Sounds as Interaction Modalities’ and ‘Sonic Interaction’. This concept was very interesting, given we may want to include an extra element of sound within our design proposal. Yos highlighted that it is important to remember that within the sound-scape, what we hear is always changing. We may not even realise it, but we have all come across the combining of sound with interaction during everyday activities. For example, the microwave beeps when it’s ready and a typewriter ‘pings’. These sounds alert us to the ‘readiness’ of what we are preparing or doing with the apparatus at a particular time. The diagram below highlights this:

This week, we continued to work on our design proposal and we ‘got our hands dirty’ in the Interactivation Studio. We worked with MAX MSP Jitter and different ‘patches’, which enabled us to link up live visual material (usb camera for example), which would capture what was currently happening. We also managed to link up multiple cameras (which is useful for us as we are planning on having 3 different projection images, therefore 3 different camera sources). We also managed to work out how to distort, rotate and mirror the images which are shown from the camera. Dan also managed to figure out how to rotate the image shown in a circular motion, which is reminiscent of the DJ spinning his vinyl discs on his turn table, which is a similar experience we want to create for our participants.

During Friday’s class, Jo and Cath went down to Kings Cross while Dan, Alex and I spent some time with Yos, looking at and working on patches which involved touch sensors. This will be very useful when it comes to attached the touch sensors to the DJ discs which we will make, as well as working towards the best possible ways to achieve our desired outcome for our design proposal.

Below is a further updated record of our Transport Hub and DJ Interactive Projection Proposal. These images were taken my Jo and Cath on Friday (15/10) so our design idea and proposal is very much up to date. As the topic we have chosen is rather difficult, we felt we needed to nut out what we could at every given time, and while we know the actual design process we are currently a part of takes time, (especially with the configuration of MAX MSP Jitter which we are all unfamiliar with), we thought it was a good idea to sort out, at each stage of the process, what we know for sure and how this will impact upon our design.

Until next week!

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Week 8 Reflection

Week 8 Reflection

Interactivating the City

This week, Bert spoke to us about the importance of traces which has been an important topic of conversation during our tutorials and throughout the lectures series. As we are embarking on ‘getting our hands dirty’ and physically making our design project, we are needing to recognize the ability of technology in creating electronic traces and how this will affect the users as well as the technology itself.

In previous lectures, Bert has spoken about natural occurrences such as earthquakes and rainbows which leave traces of what has happened, but since we are in the realm of technology and traces, other examples such as media facades, the GLOW festival in Eindhoven, Shadow Monsters by Phillip Worthington and other electronic interfaces are brought to the fore, as we realize the potential of these electronic interface circuits.

Media Facade by Heike Wiermann, Holger Mader and Alexander Stubic in Vienna

GLOW Festival in Eindhoven, 2008

Shadow Monsters installation by Phillip Worthington, 2005

Our group has now come up with a semi-concrete idea of the type of design we would like to create. This week, we aim to go into the Interactivation Studio and see how various sensors work, how they can be programmed and what is possible. We were speaking about the various reasons people come to Kings Cross, and it was general consensus among our group (and this was backed up by our prior research as well as interviews), that people generally go to the cross for clubbing, drinking, the music, and the atmosphere of wanting to party and drink. So, we had this idea to create this interactive DJ studio, but it would be outside, in our transport hub. Basically, what would happen, is that there would be a projector connected to a live camera, and 3 live screens in front. There would then be DJ pad with the DJ discs (we could make this out of wood/plastic for example), and connected to those discs would be touch sensors. The DJ pad would be connected to a computer, which would be programmed using MAX MSP, and this would enable the live image to be shown. There would also be an alcohol breath sensor (which would be reminiscent of a DJ having a microphone near his DJ pads), and before the user plays with the DJ pads, they will blow air onto the breatherliser, and this will determine the speed of the image. If the breatherlise detects that the person interacting with this is intoxicated, no matter how fast or slow he spins the discs, the images that appear on screen (which will come from the live camera feed and other programmed sources), will be slow, blurred and fuzzy because this is the vision of a drunk person. However, if the sensor realizes the person is sober, the images may become rapid, fast moving and colourful. I have included some of our diagrams below as it might be easier to understand in a visual sense than writing it.

We also found the levels of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC), and so an idea could be to program the breathalyzer sensor to recognize the various levels of intoxication, which would then be programmed into MAX MSP Jitter, so that the images, live camera feed and sensors could all be adjusted according to the breath sensor.

At the moment, our whole problem space is quite complex, so once we get into the studio, we hope that we will be able to achieve our goal. And we are also not ‘stuck’ on this DJ idea – it will obviously evolve as we understand the potential of the technology, what will and won’t work and how complex it will get. As we get closer and closer to the end of semester, the task at hand seems quite overwhelming, but, we are determined as a group to succeed in what we have chosen as a very challenging topic. At the end of the day, we are striving to do our best.

 Until next week!

Image bibliography:




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Week 7 Reflection

Interactivating the City

Week 7 Reflection

In this weeks’ lecture, Hank Haeusler spoke to us about the history of media facades and what kinds of media facades surround us everyday.

In the film Blade Runner by Ridley Scott, Haeusler interestingly noted that this was the first time a façade was shown in a movie format.

Blade Runner

Achieving communication through light installations is shown through The Tower of Wind in Yokohama, and in other films such as Minority Report and Star Wars as buildings are activated by screen technology and picture display systems.

The Tower of Wind

Haeusler highlighted the 2 locations that influenced the beginnings of media facades. In New York City’s Time Square and Tokyo’s Shibuya Crossing, static signs became more dynamic with neon lights and other electronics that greatly changed the urban environment over the years.

New York City

Shibuya Crossing

It was thus an interesting insight into how such environments can change through these various technologies. Projections, lights, signage and constantly evolving cityscapes are a direct result of the media facades. What’s in the movies is now becoming a reality. I immediately thought of the film Lost in Translation and how environments can differ so much as the technological world is so often seen to shape our cityscape environment.

Still shot from Lost in Translation

In terms of what’s currently around us, there are a number of projects. Flare systems work with ambient light and reflections to create animation, and in terms of projections, urbanscreen.com has created projections as art, which looks as though people are jumping out of a window! Click here to watch a video of this installation: http://www.urbanscreen.com/usc/33

As we prepared for our interim presentation on Friday (17/9), we culminated our research to create our presentation with our primary focus being on projections as entertainment and using projections to change the environment space. I have included some of the slides below.

We looked into the cause of congestion in The Cross and why there are so many attacks related to alcohol-fuelled violence. We looked at current and up to date issues and how the police and other stakeholders have reacted to these issues.

We have chosen the medium of projection to move people away from the main Kings Cross strip and rather entice them to go and take their form of public transport home in the most effective and easy way as possible. At the same time, we want to create entertainment for these people so waiting times become more enjoyable.

However, while we had done all this research as to why people take part in alcohol related violence, the sociology behind individuals when they drink and how we could implement projection technology, we were still (constructively) criticized as to why we didn’t have research or acknowledge why/how projections could enable individuals to become less violent. However, our aim and desire to use projections is so that we could move people away from an area and free up congestion space. I understand the logic behind researching if there has been any prior research relating to how intoxicated people connect with interactions, but what if we are the first to ‘prototype’ this type of interactive technology? What if all our research to do with finding out how technology works and if it can be implemented, as well as research relating to the sociology of the human mind, all contributes to our group trying out this idea of intoxication and projection to form a solution? We have done our research as to why people drink and what causes them to do so, and now we have taken it upon ourselves to create this new possibility…

I am going to attempt to find research (if there is any), on the link between intoxicated individuals and recognition of projection technology; however, we may have to investigate this for ourselves.

While our group has chosen a fairly difficult topic, I am looking forward to the possibilities our idea holds and I will do my very best to work toward a sound design with my group. We really believe in our idea and our problem space, so together with the research we have done, as well as interviews, personas and the research we will continue to undertake, I am sure we will create a design for our problem space which is very much needed and helps to work towards recovering our primary issue of combating this congesting because of the lack of transport hubs within the Kings Cross precinct.

Until next week!

Images bibliography:

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Week 6 Reflection

Interactivating the City

Week 6 Reflection

In this week’s lecture, the one and only Bert Bongers introduced ‘Traces – The City as a Canvas’. Since I am a part of Bert’s Interactivating the City lab, it was a really interesting lecture as he spoke of digital traces, such as RFID tags, which we have spoken extensively about in our lab, and how modes of expression affect how we leave traces and why we leave them.

People leave traces wherever they go, for example, animal footprints or gum left by humans on the floor. These traces are an identification of where we have once been, our movements, and how the environment changes because of these factors.

It is thus through these traces that we being to discover what people want and their behaviour patterns. These ‘lines of desire’ enable us to see why people are doing certain things in various ways. For example, gum that is left on the floor as shown below may be an indication that there are not enough bins in the area, so there is a need exhibited by the user of this space, for the physical object of a bin, which might in turn decrease the number of gum patches left on the floor.

In terms of digital traces, Bert mentioned Aaron Koblin who is an artist specializing in data visualization. His work ‘Flight Patterns’ looks at patterns of air travel across various countries. The result creates this aesthetically appealing visual diagram of a myriad of colours, and enables the invisible to become visible. I find this concept really quit remarkable.

Aaron Koblin – Flight Patterns

The concept of altering environments to fulfill the needs of the user is extremely relevant to our group design work as the importance of reading and understanding the environment is how a design proposal will be able to work successfully in actuality. It was apt that in this lecture, Bert spoke of the projector as an instrument as the projector allows for one to project on different surfaces. As Bert said:

Paint with the computer…use the projector as your brush…and the world is your canvas….

As we have just handed in our Assessment 1, and we are gathering information together for our Interim presentation on Friday, we will be presenting our design research and our ideas for the next part of the design phase. Within the context of the City of Sydney, our group has decided to focus on the problem space of Kings Cross at night, and the issue of transport. We have decided to hone down our theme to ‘Urban Graffiti’ and aim to use projections as our source of providing interactivity with the users instead of engaging in an antisocial encounter.

This weekend, it just so happened that the NSW police were cracking down on alcohol related violence and antisocial behaviour in Kings Cross as well as throughout Australia and New Zealand, and this new evidence further proves that we do have an active problem space on our hands. I have found some key news articles from the last 24 hours, as this police crackdown was instigated on Friday.

This is the latest media release from the NSW police force:

Hundreds arrested during first night of Operation Unite

Saturday, 11 Sep 2010 07:01am

Police arrested more than 400 people across New South Wales during the first night of Operation Unite, the Australasian crackdown on alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour.

Thousands of police were involved in the blitz, patrolling known trouble-spots across the state.

Police arrested 442 people and laid 511 charges during the first stage of the operation, an increase of 109 arrests compared to last years figures.

Continue reading the above press release at: http://www.police.nsw.gov.au/news/latest_releases?sq_content_src=2BdXJsPWh0dHBzJTNBJTJGJTJGd3d3LmViaXoucG9saWNlLm5zdy5nb3YuYXUlMkZtZWRpYSUyRjEzMTA4Lmh0bWwmYWxsPTE3D

As we continue into the second half of the semester, we will work hard on our group project and endeavour to create a feasible design for our problem space. This current information as well as our research which has been included in our essays will prove to be of great assistance and guidance as we plan what we will be projecting and how this will affect the sociology of the individuals we are designing this interface for.

Until next week!

Images bibliography:




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