Interaction design is something perhaps few people think about. Yet it is one of our most important areas of research. The world is now changed every few years by information and communication technologies, and it is interaction design that has to make these changes work for people. In 2015, such changes involve computing’s return to the world at large— back “into the wild”. There are little slivers of computing everywhere these days, not only in mobiles and laptops, but also throughout buildings, in the urban environment, attached to natural objects, or even to us. A complex web of data networks links up all these slivers of computing. This is called the “internet of things” or “ambient intelligence”. The fullness of this ambient intelligence at work is hidden from us, yet it is also increasingly in close proximity to what we do.
This 1-year Blue Sky project allowed us to establish a relationship with the Willoughby City Council (WCC), who have come on board as partner for an ARC Linkage Project proposal (currently under review). Based on the fruitful collaboration, WCC have further agreed to fund the upcoming Media Architecture Biennale as venue partner (valued at up to $40,000). The Blue Sky studies funded from the Henry Halloran Trust led to 1 book chapter, 4 conference publications, 2 workshop papers, and a digital handbook.
The project set out to study the use of so-called ‘urban screens’ for enabling audience participation in discussions around civic topics. For this purpose we partnered with Urban Screen Productions and the Willoughby City Council, who provided us with access to their urban screen at the Concourse in Chatswood. This screen posed a particularly interesting media platform for our research, since it is placed in a less than ideal position and in an unaccommodating environment.
The project involved the iterative deployment of a total of three audience participation platforms:
These platforms were deployed for a total of 9 days distributed throughout the second half of the project duration (3 days at the University of Sydney campus in July 2014, 3 days at the Concourse in July 2014, 1 day at the Concourse in September 2014 during the Chatswood StreetFair, 1 day in December 2014 at the Concourse, and 1 day in February 2015 during the Chinese New Year Festival in Chatswood).
The project outcomes include: