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Student inventions aid health and wellbeing

14 November 2016
42 concepts and prototypes experiment with future technology

From a table lamp that relieves stress before bed, a wristband that monitors alcohol consumption, to a wearable device that protects medical staff from violent patients. These are among 42 new ideas to manage common health issues.

 LEO, created by Heidi Laidler, Mark Ollis and Annabelle Pound, is a smart-home bed side table lamp designed to help stressed people to relax before bed using light and sound and by guiding users through breathing exercises.

LEO, created by Heidi Laidler, Mark Ollis and Annabelle Pound, is a bedside table lamp designed to help stressed people to relax before bed.

The novel ideas belong to this year’s graduating students of Design Computing and Interaction Design and Electronic Arts. They feature in the graduation show Framing the Future that opens in the University’s Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning on Thursday, 24 November.

Dr Martin Tomitsch, Associate Professor in Design and Head of the Design Lab at the University of Sydney, said: “Our students identify the needs, frustrations and desires of people to deliver design-driven technology that is innovative and intuitive to use.

“The disruption that technology has brought to industries, organisations and services over the past decade has highlighted the need for more creative thinkers adept in design and technology combined. Our students are fulfilling this growing demand,” said Tomitsch.
 

Interview with Associate Professor Martin Tomitsch about the 2016 Framing the Future graduate show.

One of the key themes of the 2016 student work is health and wellbeing, which saw common issues such as ADHD, insomnia, alcohol abuse and personal fitness tackled.

University of Sydney’s Dr Caitilin de Bérigny, Lecturer in Interaction Design and Framing the Future curator, said: “Our modern lifestyle is changing the way we address health problems, through the use of interactive products that can be adopted in our daily lives - as Fitbit has done for personal fitness, and Apple’s Breathe has done for the mind. Students have developed their own a range of products that seek to overcome a number of familiar health issues.”

From apps, websites and games, to virtual reality, interactive toys and wearable devices, the students have experimented with emerging technology that may become part of daily life in the future.

Among the student inventions is PulseWave - a wearable, wireless device worn by frontline medical staff vulnerable to aggressive patients. It features a set of sensors and microphone that pick up an escalating heartbeat, external vibrations and sounds, alerting a central monitoring system.

Bourband is a wristband linked to a phone app that measures alcohol consumption. A tab is set up on the app to track drinks purchased via the wristband, which the bartender scans. Alcohol content is also monitored and the tab is cut when the user reaches their limit.

LEO is a smart lamp designed to de-stress people before bed. Using light and sound, it guides a person through breathing exercises and plays soothing sounds to put them to sleep.

Octobot is a modular toy that improves a child’s attentiveness through a combination of interactive electronic parts that are playful and inspire creativity.

Motivator is a running app that uses a drone and music to spur on a runner. The runner follows the drone that is set on a particular course. When they fall behind, the music becomes softer, signaling the runner to keep up with the drone.

Volts turns a phone obsession into positive energy and activity when users are at a standstill in public spaces. It uses Pavegen technology that generates off-grid electricity through movement wirelessly transmitted to a mobile device.

Framing the Future graduation show officially opens at the University of Sydney on Thursday, 24 November at 6.30pm and is on display until Saturday, 26 November.