CreativeStrategies 4

With Frank Feltham (RMIT) and Lian Loke, Design Lab, University of Sydney

Research Partner:  Assoc. Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis, Charles Perkins Centre , USyd.

Three key challenges for healthy sustainable living point to a pressing need for rethinking the design of devices and environments to better support physical health and well-being. With the advent of the compact city, it is anticipated that a large proportion of the Australian population will be living in medium-to-high density housing. Statistics show that increasing life expectancy has resulted in an aging population crisis, with associated issues of health, work and housing. The third challenge is the minimization of physical activity due to a continual increase in the computerisation of work and leisure. These converging trends signal a rise in sedentary existences, with significant health implications in the physical, mental and social dimensions.

This design studio will examine the agency of the creative moving body to explore new applications for “on body” inertial sensing. The aim is to encourage greater levels of creative and meaningful physical activity, reduce sedentary lifestyles, and in turn improve health and well-being. Outside of the already existing common set of physical activities that take place (e.g., walking, running, cycling, sports) – and which mostly cater for medium-to-high levels of physical fitness and agility – we consider there to be more creative possibilities for physical fitness and activity, suitable for a wide range of ages and needs.

You will engage in a design research process that enables you to define a research question and develop your own creative strategy response for physical health. A program of workshops will introduce you to some of the theoretical background pertaining to sedentary behaviour, the dimensions of the creative moving body and methods of inertial sensing to generate interesting movement data. The wireless sensing technology has been developed as a toolkit for the studio to reduce the complexity and give you the opportunity to explore the question and arrive at the creative strategy, rather than make a technology. The design outcome and process will be driven by you. You will select and manage the knowledge you gain from the workshops to design this creative strategy. You will gain a working knowledge of inertial sensing (wireless accelerometers) and data collection combined with the development of conventional design skills such as drawing, modelling and diagramming.

The outcomes will include,

  1. A creative strategy, that can take a number of forms, examples may include an expansive social policy for creative movement with a public sensor network in the form of diagrams, storyboards and video footage, or a detailed wearable sensing product made from 3D printing technologies. The form of the strategy is your choice negotiated with the studio tutor.
  2. An exegesis document, that contains all aspects of your design research process described and presented in a carefully edited and designed document.

This studio is being run by Frank Feltham, Industrial design lecturer at RMIT, who is conducting design research with the University of Sydney into the opportunities for sound generating sensing surfaces and their application to the creative moving body for health and lifestyle awareness and improvement.

Dr Lian Loke, Senior Lecturer at the Design Lab University of Sydney, is a collaborator on this project and will provide material to inform the workshops. Lians research and creative practice is interdisciplinary and spans the arts, design and human-computer interaction. One of her primary interests is in creative approaches to physical activity and bodily self-awareness.