This project was completed in collaboration with UNSW and as part of a 3-year research program on Responsive Transport Environments funded through the Australian Research Council and industry partners, including Arup and Grimshaw Architects.
The research program investigates low-cost approaches to transport infrastructure expansion through the use of digital information technologies that work in combination with existing hard infrastructures to improve passenger flow through facilities and distribute loads across services by providing useable and novel forms of information to passengers. The vision is to enhance the customer experience while increasing mode-share and revenue performance of public transport, reducing operating costs, energy use and service disruption during periods of upgrade and refurbishment.
Design and prototyping
The interchange prototype is the result of a parallel, iterative design approach: UNSW students developed several ideas for what the physical structure of a transport shelter would look like. The final concept was selected for its modular approach and spatial design that complements the urban environment, and revised and built by project team members.
Students from the University of Sydney designed and prototyped digital screen applications that explored different ways for improving the customer experience while waiting at a transport shelter, as well as providing contextually relevant information. Three applications and a low-resolution LED display application were eventually included in the prototype, and redesigned and implemented by project members.
Two 39-inch screens and one 60-inch screen were incorporated into the physical structure. The LED display was custom-made of 551 RGB LEDs. The user interface for the applications was built with web technology. The sensor input mechanisms were built using Processing. A Microsoft Kinect depth camera was used to enable touch interaction on the displays.
M. Hank Haeusler, Martin Tomitsch, Tim Tompson, Nicole Gardner, Briedy Mahar, Eliot Rosenberg, Rebekah Araullo, Sean Bryen, Oliver Dawson, Soojeong Yoo, Frederik Görtelmeyer, Minshuo Melody Li, Adam Smith, Lachlan Sunderland, and many more.
The prototype was exhibited as part of Sydney Design Week in August 2014.
Tompson, T. and Tomitsch, M. (2014). Understanding public transport design constraints by using mock-ups in stakeholder conversations. In Proceedings of the Participatory Design Conference (PDC'14), ACM.
Tomitsch, M. (2014). The History and Future of Interaction Design in Public Transport Environments. In INTERCHANGING - Future Designs for Responsive Transport Environments, Gardner, N., Mahar, B. and Haeusler, H. (Editors), AADR, Spurbuchverlag.
For more information see the website for the Responsive Transport Environments research program.
Photos by Xavier Ho and Martin Tomitsch.
This projects aims to develop and evaluate a mobile website for supporting early career academics’ professional learning from their student evaluation of teaching (SET) results.
The mobile website personalises recommended teaching strategies by harnessing SET database information. It provides networking opportunities for peer interaction, a key strategy recommended for enhancing traditional SET consultation. The project draws on design-based research methods to examine early career academics’ experiences of using the website and changing their practice over time.
The project is funded by the Australian Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT).
Martin Tomitsch, Jen Scott Curwood, Kate Thomson, Graham Hendry
The aim of the Share Your Power project was to develop a public, real-time visualisation of domestic electricity usage. The displays were trialled in a total of three households, two of which were directly neighbouring each other. As display a mechanical system, known as flip-dot technology, was used. This type of display uses physical discs that are controlled electro-mechanically to either show a white or black dot. The technology is highly energy-efficient as it only draws electricity for changing the content of the display. A further advantage over light-based display technologies is that flip-dot displays are highly visible even in bright daylight.
A custom-built tablet web application allowed controlling the flipdot displays from inside the house. At the same time the tablet application served as real-time energy monitor as it displayed the household’s electricity usage in watts as well as the visualisations that could be sent to the public display.
Martin Tomitsch, Tobias Ebsen, Oliver Dawson, Monika Hoinkis, Andrew Vande Moere and more.
Tomitsch, M. (2014). Towards the real-time city: An investigation of public displays for behaviour change and sustainable living. In Proceedings of the 7th Making Cities Liveable Conference, PANDORA Archive, National Library of Australia.
TetraBIN explores how digital technologies can be used to motivate positive change in urban environments. It uses gamified approaches – making use of game mechanics and game thinking – turn an activity traditionally considered trivial, such as depositing rubbish into a bin, into a joyful event.
These approaches are designed to enhance the experience of interacting with urban furniture, with the goal of encouraging more active attitudes from people formerly partaking passively in a relatively insignificant activity. In particular it tackles the problem of littering by associating the act of rubbish disposal with a fun and rewarding activity. The act of putting rubbish into a bin is turned into a game, where a piece of rubbish is mapped to an interaction within a game world displayed on a computer controlled screen surrounding the bin.
Depositing of rubbish into a bin, which is normally seen as a passive act requiring minimum thought is given importance as the participant must drop their rubbish into the bin at the right moment to advance further in the game. This experience of an augmented reality in which actions in the real world affect the virtual world lead the participant to consider environmental issues facing the city, specifically the collection and management of waste.
Reminiscent of 8-bit era video games, (remember Super Mario Bros, anyone?) TetraBIN allows players to collaboratively control light blocks on the screen. The pattern of these blocks is affected by the size and shape of your litter, as well as by the timing of your act of disposal.
The work utilises the latest in LED media facade technology. The displays covering the circular surface of the bin were custom-produced and manually assembled. Each display consisted of 900 LEDs that were mounted onto laser-cut Perspex and covered with a translucent layer of polycarbonate. Three pairs of custom-developed infrared sensors per bin were used to recognise rubbish being put into the bin. The code translating the sensors’ signal into visual patterns that correspondent with the algorithms was written with web technologies.
Steven Bai, Sam Johnson, Martin Tomitsch
The TetraBIN was exhibited during Vivid Sydney 2014 and the Robots, Fabrication & Design exhibition in the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University.
Further details are available on the TetraBin project website.
Photos by Steven Bai and Martin Tomitsch. Video by Steven Bai.
TetraBIN is based on an original idea developed by Steven Bai and two fellow students during their Bachelor of Design Computing.
Solstice LAMP was installed during Vivid Sydney 2013 in the AMP forecourt at Circular Quay, Sydney. As people walked through the space, unique sonic and visual creation generated the animations and sounds that then traveled up the building facade, eventually transforming into origami cranes.
People passing through the AMP building forecourt are sensed with overhead 3D cameras. Their outlines produce shapes of projected blue light onto the ground. These shapes are then released from their makers, drifting up the facade using laser projection. The shapes transform as they rise, producing music as they interact with features of the building facade. As they progress, the visual shapes evolve into origami cranes.
A purpose-built computer program creates an integrated interactive experience that reaches from the forecourt to the top of the building. The system users projectors, 3D sensors, lasers and generative music. The AMP building forecourt is activated by two Microsoft Kinect tracking cameras and two projectors. The computer program receives the tracking data and translates it into animated projections and musical sounds that map to people's movement through the space. An ambient soundscape is overlayed with scores selected in response to the interaction, effectively turning people into co-authors of the dynamic artwork by allowing them to "play" the installation. Visualisations created on the floor are translated into an animation in response to real-time contextual conditions (number of people present in the space, size of shapes created, etc). High-powered lasers project the animated imagery onto the building facade.
Ollie Bown, Luke Hespanhol, Martin Tomitsch, Miriam Young, Reuben Young
Hespanhol, L., Bown, O., Cao, J., and Tomitsch, M. (2013). Evaluating the effectiveness of audio-visual cues in immersive user interfaces. In Proceedings of the 25th Australian Computer-Human Interaction Conference: Augmentation, Application, Innovation, Collaboration (OzCHI '13), ACM, 569-572.
Hespanhol, L., Tomitsch, M., Bown, O., and Young, M. (2014). Using Embodied Audio-Visual Interaction to Promote Social Encounters Around Large Media Façades. In Proceedings of the international conference on Designing interactive systems (DIS'14), ACM.
Photos by Nathaniel Fay.
The Neighbourhood Scoreboard project investigates the effect of public exposure of domestic energy usage on house facades.
The research project started in 2009 and was carried out at the Design Lab, University of Sydney.
From October to November 2010 five chalkboards as feedback displays were installed in a Sydney neighbourhood and manually updated each day. The visualisation included the change of electricity consumption compared to the previous day, a symbolic representation for each day of the current month, a graph representation for each week, and a daily neighbourhood ranking. Chalkboard was the material choice because it does not require any energy, is easily updated and maintained, low-cost in production and we found the aesthetics to match nicely the existing architectural typology.
Andrew Vande Moere, Martin Tomitsch, Monika Hoinkis, Elmar Trefz, Silje Johansen, Allison Jones and more.
Vande Moere, A., Tomitsch, M., Hoinkis, M., Trefz, E., Johansen, S., and Jones, A. (2011). Comparative Feedback in the Street: Exposing Residential Energy Consumption on House Facades. In Proceedings of 13th IFIP TC13 Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (INTERACT 2011), Springer.
Further details are available from the Neighbourhood Scoreboards project website.
Photos courtesy of Nikash Singh and Martin Tomitsch.