Digital innovators showcased in Rocks Popup festival

22 November 2012

'The Secret Lives of Computers', one of the projects featured at the Rocks Popup Festival.
'The Secret Lives of Computers', one of the projects featured at the Rocks Popup Festival.

Using technology ranging from iPads and Xboxes to projectors and typewriters, University of Sydney students have been combining design savvy and technological know-how to create exciting new works showcased at the Rocks Popup festival opening tonight, Thursday 22 November.

In one project computers become increasingly distraught as humans approach, hiding their activities and acting more and more erratic. In another, an interactive wall morphs and changes as it responds to users' touches. Visitors can use their hands to drive remote control cars and explore interactive films where you become a character.

The graduate students are from the Bachelor of Design Computing and the Master of Interaction Design and Electronic Arts, and the works were created in The Design Lab, a research arm of the University of Sydney

Program coordinator Dr Martin Tomitsch said this showcase is a chance for the public to see the very latest in technology innovations and student achievement.

"Our students worked collaboratively to produce these pieces. Visitors can explore new musical approaches based on algorithms, or reflect on their personal history and world events through digital time capsules," Tomitsch said.

"What binds these projects together is that students have identified and made their best ideas. The results are interactive and compelling," Tomitsch said.

One project blends the printed word with digital technologies: a screen reader overlays printed books with content drawn from the internet, providing definitions, examples and more information all at the press of a finger.

The Bachelor of Design Computing teaches students ideation - the ability to conceptualise, problem solve and judge various design solutions. Students then implement their ideas using whatever skills and tools are necessary to get the software, service and interaction just right.

The Master of Interaction Design and Electronic Arts (IDEA) trains students to develop interdisciplinary projects. IDEA students use cutting-edge technologies, such as computers embedded into clothing and everyday objects, to make important social statements and revolutionise commercial practices.

Student works from both programs have led to patents or startups. This showcase is a unique opportunity for the public to see what our shared digital future will look like, and how it will shape the physical devices we use everyday.

The Rocks Popup is an initiative of the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority to find creative uses for temporarily vacant buildings, attracting new visitors to Sydney's historic heart. The exhibition opens tonight and continues for a fortnight until 6 December.

Event details

What: Design Lab End of Year Graduate Festival - Showcase of innovation

When: Opening night 6pm, Thursday 22 November. Festival closes 6 December, 2012.

Where: Various locations throughout the Rocks:

  • Shop 2.06, 140 George Street
  • Shop 25, Rocks Square
  • 29 Playfair Street and outdoor installations in Foundation Park

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