Funded Projects

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ARC DP160104706
Performative Body-Mapping (PBM) method for socialising non-humanlike robots
(2016-2018)

Petra Gemeinboeck, Robert Saunders, Maaike Bleeker, Ben Robins

Robots are increasingly becoming part of our lives in the sectors of health, education, commerce and leisure. But robots’ social skills today fall far behind their functional capabilities. Performative Body-Mapping (PBM) creatively addresses this problem by inventing and trialling a transdisciplinary body-mapping method for socialising non- humanlike robots. Significantly, this will allow for a) social robots to be non-humanoid in appearance but still appealing and readable to humans, and b) robots to be taught to interact by utilising human movement expertise in an innovative, effective way. The new Performative Body-Mapping (PBM) has the potential to radically transform techniques of embodiment that are central to human–robot interaction.



ARC DP160102648
Understanding Australia in The Age of Humans: Localising the Anthropocene
(2016-2018)

Iain McCalman, Libby Robin, Kirsten Wehner, Josh Wodak, Caitilin de Bérigny, Martha Sear, Jennifer Newell, Jan Zalasiewicz, Gregg Mitman

The project aims to undertake a comprehensive investigation of Australia as a distinctive locality within the global idea of the new epoch of humanity known as the Anthropocene. It aims to analyse and narrate how human interventions have come to transform Australian environments in fundamental and enduring ways, showing the history, impact and implications of human-influenced biophysical planetary change within our distinctive and vulnerable continental and ocean environments. It also plans to use both print and museum environments to develop new understandings of the cultural dimensions of the ‘Age of Humans’.



AuDA Foundation/Research Grant
Development of a Browser Extension to Enhance Accessibility in Online Libraries for the Vision Impaired
(2015)

A/Prof Martin Tomitsch, Ms Kim Wilson

Online publications have become and are continuing to become the prevalent source of information for research and learning across all disciplines. Universities provide free access to online libraries, such as LexisNexis (for Law) or the ACM Digital Library (for computer science). However, accessing digital documents is not a straight-forward task for people, who suffer from vision impairment, as each online library offers different search options. Browsing a new library website can be a steep learning curve and in some cases it is even impossible to find what they are looking for in an online library. The issue is that many online library websites do not cater for screen readers, making it frustrating and time consuming to use their online interfaces. Following the objective of creating an accessible web for all, this project involves the design and development of a client-side extension that can be installed on the browser for a better, unified search experience. The aim of the project is to provide an easy-to-learn, single portal for searching scholarly documents for vision impaired students.



Henry Halloran Trust, Research Incubator
Urban Housing Lab@Sydney: Predictive analytics and policy platform for Sydney’s housing market
(2015-2017)

Prof. Nicole Gurran, Dr Somwrita Sarkar, Dr Jennifer Kent

Housing is a central component of urban infrastructure, yet provision of appropriate and affordable housing near transport and jobs remains a key challenge. Addressing this challenge depends on better understanding the mechanics of the housing market and how policy interventions – like urban planning – might enhance housing outcomes. Building on the big-data capacity of UrbanLab@Sydney, this Incubator constructs a research platform for examining housing market dynamics in Sydney and potential levers for change. Research fostered within the Incubator will connect to wider scholarship on planning, infrastructure, the market and big-data analytics while distilling key implications for urban policy and practice.
Project website: http://www.urbanhousinglab.com/index.html



Henry Halloran Trust, Blue Sky Projects
UrbanLab@Sydney: Building an open access data system for urban planning policy
(2014-2015)

Dr Somwrita Sarkar, Prof. Nicole Gurran, A/Prof. Martin Tomitsch

UrbanLab@Sydney aims to establish a system or platform that can be enhanced in the future via the addition of new data variables and analytical approaches, extending to a range of other urban issues and focus areas, subject to resources. It will be the first of its kind in any university across Australia to develop an online, publicly accessible system for data analysis, information visualization, and policy relevant commentary on urban planning and city science research in Australia.
Project website: http://www.urbanhousinglab.com/index.html



Henry Halloran Trust, Blue Sky Projects
Enabling audience participation through urban media as a diagnostic method in urban planning
(2014-2015)

A/Prof Martin Tomitsch, Dr Ian McArthur, Dr M. Hank Haeusler, Mr Brad Miller, Prof Marcus Foth, A/Prof Andrew Murphie, Mr Luke Hespanhol

Large digital screens, also known as urban screens, are increasingly prevalent across today’s cities dispersing into everyday urban spaces such as public squares and cultural precincts. The challenge with implementing urban screens in new urban planning developments is that they need to carefully respond to the physical as well as socio-cultural environment in which they are placed. The project will lead to a tested and reproducible approach for identifying how to ‘program’ urban screens so that they respond to the specific physical and socio-cultural environment. This will involve the design and development of methods for facilitating citizen-generated content, participatory voting processes, and public large-scale data visualisation of crowd-sourced content.



OLT 2013 Seed Projects, Round 2, SD13-3295
Professional development for academics: Evaluating a personalised mobile website for learning from student feedback
(2013-2014)

A/Prof Martin Tomitsch, Dr Jen Scott Curwood, Dr Kate Thomson, Dr Graham Hendry

This project develops and evaluates a world-first mobile website for supporting early career academics’ professional learning from their student evaluation of teaching (SET) results. The traditional approach has involved individual face-to-face consultations, which is labour and time- intensive, and does not necessarily provide all academics with ‘just in time’ support. This project will use an interactive mobile website that anticipates academics’ learning needs and personalises recommended teaching strategies by harnessing SET database information. The website will provide networking opportunities for peer interaction, a key strategy recommended for enhancing traditional SET consultation. It is sustainable and scalable because it will initially focus on SET data in the key area of assessment quality. 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 deliverables include the mobile website, a project website featuring a blog for SET coordinators and administrators, and a project report.



ARC LP110200708
Responsive transport environments: spatial and visual user information technologies to allow improved passenger flow and a better customer experience
(2012-2015)

Dr M. Hank Haeusler, A/Prof Martin Tomitsch, Prof Tom Barker, Dr Nathan Kirchner, Dr Michelle Zeibots, Prof Garry Glazebrook, Dan Hill

Australian public transport environments are challenged to cope with growth in population. This research investigates a complementary approach to transport infrastructure expansion – and its associated costs, disruption, energy use, and implementation periods – through the use of responsive digital information to facilitate improved passenger flow and to offer a better customer experience. The study objectives are: to investigate related research and projects in the area; to research user and other stakeholder requirements; to design, deploy and evaluate prototypes in real locations; and to develop spatial and architectural integration of digital technologies and their application in public transport environments.
Project website: http://responsivetransport.org/wp/



SyReNs
The Sydney Network on Climate Change and Society
(2012-2013)

Prof Rosemary Lyster, Prof David Schlosberg, Dr Howard Bamsey, Alison Basford, Prof Maria Byrne, Dr Lynne Chester, Dr Linda Connor, Dr Danielle Celermajer, Dr Caitilin de Berigny, Dr William Figueira, Dr Paul Giles, AProf Nicole Gurran, Dr Jodi Frawley, Prof Iain McCalman, Prof Elspeth Probyn and Prof Christopher Wright.

Climate change in particular is widely seen as the most urgent expression of this problem. While many of the efforts of climate change scholars have rightly focused on bringing attention to potential impacts and attempting to prevent broad change, the evidence now indicates that change has arrived, and will continue and expand. The cross-disciplinary human and social implications of these developments are broad, interrelated – and underdeveloped. In the coming years, what we mean by ‘the environment’ will be both irreversibly changed and ever changing, with profound consequences for nature, the social world, and their complex interactions. Reverting to a more ‘natural’ or familiar world is not an option; the challenge ahead lies in how human societies understand and adapt to the changes we have wrought to both nature and ourselves.