Design Interaction Environment @ Make Hack Void


This semester I ran the Digital Masters unit on Design Interaction Environment at the new Make Hack Void Community Space overlooking Lake Ginninderra in Belconnen, which has amazing views to distract you from your soldering :). Check out the fab projects below.





PoZi: Sonic Posture Awareness
Stephen Barrass

1pm – 2.30pm,
17th November 2014,
UC-RISE Theatrette
Research Institute for Sports and Exercise
University of Canberra

Wearable sensors are increasingly used in sports, health, fitness, training and rehabilitation. Usually the data from the sensor is collected and analysed after a session. The use of this analysis to improve performance in the next session requires communication, mental processing, memory and attention. In this seminar I propose that the ability to listen to sensor data in realtime during a session could enable faster and more long lasting improvements.

This seminar will introduce Pozi, which is a wearable device designed to sonify data about body posture in realtime. The capability to hear the sensor data closes the loop between action and perception, enabling a sensorimotor approach that positions learning in the moment. The development of Pozi was motivated and guided by observations made while on Outside Studies in the Movement Science area at the Australian Institute of Sport during Semester 1 2014.

I will present the design, evaluation and development of iterations of the Pozi concept prototype to this point in time in the form of an Annotated Portfolio. At the end I will open the discussion for suggestions regarding further work that could include approaches to evaluation, additional sensors, other applications and research collaborations.


PoZi V1.0 – wearable sonification of x,y.z accelerometer on cheststrap.


PoZi v2.0 – datalogging and visual LED , 3D printed case.


PoZi v3.0 – mini minimal, magnetic fix to cardio strap.

Interactive Entertainment 2014 – Fun and Games


Interactive Entertainment is Australasia’s longest running games and digital entertainment conference. IE2014 marks the 10th anniversary of the conference which is hosted this year by the University of Newcastle, Australia.

The keynote address will be given by Stephen Barrass at 9:30am on Tuesday 2nd December on the topic of “Interactive Sound and Smart Things”. (link to public Prezi presentation)

IE2014 welcomes scientists, designers, artists, technicians, students, industry and academics from across the spectrum. We encourage contributions from fields as diverse as computer science, social science, design, communication, media studies, music, engineering, health and mathematics. Anyone interested in the myriad of technologies and issues that impact on interactive entertainment and computer games are encouraged to come along and share their discipline’s perspective on “Fun and Games”.

Digital Da Vinci 2: Computers in the Arts and Sciences

Newton Lee’s next volume in his Digital Da Vinci series includes a surprising amount of Australian content, with chapters from Stelarc and Keith Armstrong (see them in person on the video :), Mari Velonaki, and Roman Danylak. Proudly adding to the downunder contingent is my chapter about recursive 3D printing of a series of bells, where each bell is shaped by the sound of the previous bell in the series.

Barrass S. (2014) The Shape of the Sound of the Shape of the Sound, in Lee N (ed) Digital Da Vinci 2: Computers in the Arts and Sciences, Springer, ISBN-13: 978-1493909643. Book-DigitalDaVinci2

“Science is art,” said Regina Dugan, senior executive at Google and former director of DARPA. “It is the process of creating something that never exists before. … It makes us ask new questions about ourselves, others; about ethics, the future.” Digital Da Vinci: Computers in the Arts and Sciences is dedicated to polymathic education and interdisciplinary studies in the digital age empowered by computer science. Educators and researchers ought to encourage the new generation of scholars to become as well rounded as a Renaissance man or woman. Amazon: Barnes & Noble:

soniHED conference


  • The Conference on Sonification of Health and Environmental Data is funded by Wellcome Trust and Centre for Chronic Diseases and Disorders (C2D2) at the University of York. It is organised by Department of Theatre, Film and TV and the Stockholm Environment Institute of the University of York. This Conference will bring together experts in the fields of sonification, sound design, health sciences and environmental science to evaluate and discuss novel sonic ways to engage with data.

Barrass, S. (2014) Acoustic Sonification of Blood Pressure in the Form of a Singing Bowl, in Proceedings of the Conference on Sonification in Health and Environmental Data12 September 2014, York University, UK Here is a video presentation of the paper that I made for the conference.

Digital Da Vinci Vol. 1

2014-DigitalDaVinci01-BookCoverDigital Da Vinci: Computers in Music is dedicated to polymathic education and interdisciplinary studies in the digital age empowered by computer science. Educators and researchers ought to encourage the new generation of scholars to become as well rounded as a Renaissance man or woman.

Barrass, S. and Barrass, T. (2014) Making Things Purr, Growl and Sing, in Lee, N. (ed) Digital Da Vinci: Computers in Music, Springer, 2014, ISBN 978-1-4939-0535-5.

Smart Things, with sensors, data processing and communications technologies embedded in them, are now pervading our everyday world. However, the disconnected interface introduces a Gulf of Evaluation that potentially reduces the usability of interactions with a Smart Thing. This chapter explores sonic interfaces to Smart Things to close this Gulf. The first section describes an interactive couch that purrs when it is stroked, modeled on human communications with pets. This resulted in the development of a method for designing affective sounds for interactive products. The next section describes an investigation into the aesthetics of sonic feedback in mobile Apps. The results indicated that more recreational users prefer more musical sounds, whilst more competitive users prefer more functional sounding feedback. In the next section we explored the functionality of embedding realtime sonifications as interfaces to Smart Things designed for outdoor activities. The technical challenges of synthesizing sounds on an Arduino microprocessor resulted in the development of the open source Mozzi library for embedded sonification. The final section describes artistic installations and scientific projects created by the Mozzi community.

22C – a vessel for storing warmth

Ceramic, Phase Change Material (PCM), Thermochromic, Photochromic and Photoluminescent pigments.
22C is a collaboration with Joan Barrass (Ceramics) and Linda Davy (Everything !) designed for the Embracing Innovation 4 exhibition opening July 24 at Crafts ACT in Canberra.

22C-craftACT-july-01This thermodynamic ceramic vessel is a heat battery that has been designed for the climate in Canberra. The vessel contains 2 litres of inorganic salt solution known as a Phase Change Material (PCM) that acts as a concentrated heat mass when it changes from solid to liquid at 22C.



AAAA2876The surface is coated in thermo-chromic pigments chosen to indicate the state of the PCM inside it. On cold winter mornings the blue surface indicates the inside is solid. As it warms up it turns yellow to indicate the inside is melting.




AAAA2885At the end of a sunny day the white surface indicates the inside is liquid. In the evening when the temperature drops below 22C the surface turns back to yellow and then blue again as it solidifies and releases stored heat.




AAAA2884When sunlight falls on the surface a pattern of photo-chromic purple rings indicate that the solar input is charging up the thermal battery. At night the surface glows purple with photo-luminescent pigments to indicate stored energy is being released.




22C-EmbracingInnovation-00Embracing Innovation Vol. 4, the fourth instalment of the Centre’s Embracing Innovation exhibition series, presents the work of craft practitioners and designer makers who have embraced cutting edge technologies into their practices. A selected group exhibition comprising six individual artist and two collaborations Embracing Innovation Vol. 4 will present work from artists and researchers from leading Australian and international research and academic institutions.


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