Image credit - Laurie Frick 2016

Image credit – Laurie Frick 2016

Lecturer: Stuart McFarlane with guest researchers from the School of Media and Comms, RMIT University

Studio Timetable: Monday 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm & Wednesday 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Sleep has been a subject of research for several centuries. Current research estimates that there are over one hundred different types of sleep disorders, all of which vary in severity and treatment. Research supports growing evidence that the act of sleeping plays an important role in human health and well-being, of which has profound effects on society and industry more broadly. In 2012 it was estimated that sleep disorders cost the Australian Government $5.1 billion per annum, where $800 million is a direct cost to the public health system, and $3.1 billion is in lost productivity. Sleep and concurrent sleep disorders are of such a concern, sleep is now commonly described as the third pillar of health, alongside nutrition and exercise, as a global concern. In an emerging ‘twenty-four-hour’ global community, where time is critical and working hours are often elastic, the adverse effects sleep and sleep disorders exhibit on human performance presents a challenge for individuals and industries striving to perform at their best with short notice. Commercially sleep monitoring has been addressed with the introduction of wearables and mobile applications that integrate novel modes of interaction such as movement tracking and electroencephalogram (EEG) monitoring all aimed at reducing the detrimental by-products of sleep. However; these products are in their infancy, and it is not yet clear what consequence different technological approaches have in relationship to this research field.

The principal focus of this studio is to explore the large territory sleep and sleep disorders encompass, and to respond with design concepts to reduce or eliminate detrimental symptoms. Research has shown that, light exposure prior to waking can improve cognition after waking, constant auditory stimuli while sleeping can reduce sleep inertia and manipulating skin temperature can alter sleep depth. In this studio, you will build on these key design themes and/or establish some of your own through a review of current practices and research findings. In response to these themes you will think broadly in a design process that involves prototyping solutions and reflecting on their opportunities to address the themes and concerns you raise through your research. The prototype outcome can take many forms – the question will be how does the prototype demonstrate the potential of the proposition the research reveals. Formally there will be workshops on techniques in research, advice on prototyping and writing the research report. There will also a program of guest presentations from some of the leaders in perception as it relates to conditions of sleep