Lecturers: Emma Luke and Michael Bentham
Studio Timetable: Tuesday 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm & Thursday 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Research Partners, RMIT’s Micro/Nanomedical Research Facility and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute
In 1999 Neil Gross, in an article for Business Week, brought an idea that had been sitting with technologists and futurists for many years into the wider public view:
“In the next century, planet earth will don an electronic skin. It will use the Internet as a scaffold to support and transmit its sensations. This skin is already being stitched together. It consists of millions of embedded electronic measuring devices: thermostats, pressure gauges, pollution detectors, cameras, microphones, glucose sensors, EKGs, electroencephalographs. These will probe and monitor cities and endangered species, the atmosphere, our ships, highways and fleets of trucks, our conversations, our bodies — even our dreams.”
Now nearly two decades on we have the technology and the capacity – indeed we already have a fully functional devices that could be considered as an electronic skin, comprised of wearables, for example the FitBit, our smart phones, city based sensor systems, algorithms that provide context and preferences to our online searching and the coarse tracking of our movements through credit card use locations. While providing some social and practical benefit to the ways we might go about our daily lives, these devices provide data on our usage patterns, primarily for the benefit of corporations and large institutions. As our capabilities to generate powerful personal data increase, the opportunity for this data to be interpreted and accessed by individuals and health care providers/practitioners to raise awareness, monitor health conditions and potentially improve people’s quality of life has become more apparent.
BIOT is propositional design research studio that critically examines the role nano-scale sensing technologies can have for those that might need it most – the vulnerable: the ill and infirm, the young and the aged. The studio is located within the assistive technologies for health domain: looking at the potential applications of nano-scale technologies, and micro fabrication, for example microscopic sensors and transmitters incorporated into our bodies to gather and share biometric and environmental data. Partnered with RMIT’s Micro/Nanomedical Research Facility and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, the studio gives students the opportunity to engage with industry partners to explore and propose new applications for the rapidly evolving BIOT landscape through the development of compelling product/service scenarios. Your role as a designer will be to explore the concept of this next generation computing through developing future narratives for it’s application in health and condition management. The design methods and outcomes will be a combination of service design, interface design approaches to user experience through developing short films to communicate this potential. You will produce a research report that critically examines and locates a context for micro-nano computing and our bodies as IOT actors.