TetraBIN - a 2014 Sydney Design Awards winner

25 August 2014

L-R: Sam Johnson, Steven Bai and Dr Martin Tomitsch with their award-winning TetraBIN. Photo Suzannah Wimberley.
L-R: Sam Johnson, Steven Bai and Dr Martin Tomitsch with their award-winning TetraBIN. Photo Suzannah Wimberley.

TetraBIN - a University of Sydney research project and crowd pleaser at Vivid Sydney earlier this year - is a 2014 Sydney Design Awards winner announced last week.

TetraBIN was among 120 design projects selected as a finalist in the Awards, which attracted a record number of nominations this year. TetraBIN won the category of Installation, Display, Exhibit & Set Design.

Steven Bai and Sam Johnson, recent graduates of the University's Faculty of Architecture Design and Planning, developed TetraBIN in response to a research project brief that investigated the use of digital technologies for encouraging positive behavior change in the city.

TetraBIN uses gamified approaches - making use of game mechanics and game thinking - turning an activity normally considered trivial, such as depositing rubbish into a bin, into a joyful event.

Bai and Johnson's research supervisor was Martin Tomitsch, a Senior Lecturer in Faculty's Design Lab and Director of the Design Computing program, whose own research interests are in the role of digital technologies for improving urban livability.

TetraBin is 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.

"The passive act of putting rubbish into a bin, requiring minimum thought, is now given importance as the participant must drop their rubbish in the bin at the right moment to advance further in the game," said Steven Bai.

It aims to tackle 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.

"The experience of an augmented reality, in which our actions in the real world affect the virtual world, lead the person to consider environmental issues facing the city, in this instance collection and management of waste," he added.

At the announcement of the awards on Wednesday 20 August, Sydney Design Awards Founder and CEO Mark Bergin said: "This year Sydney has truly embraced the awards with the result being a remarkable collection of courageous projects.

"To stay relevant in a global market we need to accelerate transformation, the economic race is being dictated by other markets that are growing much faster than ours.

"Design is the most effective and efficient means to accelerate transformation, our goal is to recognise those who have had the courage to commission new design projects.

"The more we recognise those who have taken proactive steps to accelerate our market, the faster we'll see others taking up the same challenge," said Mark Bergin.

The Sydney Design Awards are part of the global multi-disciplinary Design Awards program organised by design100, and follows the success of the New York Design Awards held earlier this year. The awards are designed to provide broad recognition to emerging and established designers.

For the full list of Sydney Design Award winners visit:

Contact: Mandy Campbell

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