Sound, lit and making space – how a graduate trio create interactive design

Posted on August 6, 2013

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IMD Northumbria Sound Lab

IMD Northumbria Sound Lab

The Interactive Media Design School at Northumbria University in Newcastle has an admirable record in producing graduates with fresh ideas to change the way we act in and influence the world around us. This year’s graduate show was no different, packed with innovative projects displaying incredible diversity of thought and application, showing off skills in web and physical design, mobile apps, multimedia, augmented reality and graphics.

A trio of projects instantly caught my attention. Firstly, Amy Nelson’s Sound Lab, an audio experiment with more than a splash of colour. Three speaker units with clear plastic cylinders attached to a Korg Kaossilator, provide the platform to transform brightly coloured viscous liquids into twisted shapes or explosive spouts, depending on how you want to play: a sort of interactive audio lava lamp. Amy’s ambitions for the Sound Lab include commercialisation for people interested in having the units at home and potentially in an educational setting, for children with learning difficulties.

The second interesting find was Sharon Gibson’s interpretation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ as an augmented reality experience, incorporating video, audio and interactive web elements to Fitzgerald’s classic. Using existing film and sound recordings of classic texts incorporated into AR would make teaching children and adults about great literature and interpretation a much more rounded experience, but I just like the fact that students are using AR in association with traditional publishing because it shows that print is not a dead medium.

Finally, Pippa Batey has devised a simple and elegant solution to booking your appointment at the local doctor’s surgery. Real-time mobile booking via a surgery website would allow busy staff and patients to easily coordinate GP bookings and alternative dates via a smartphone app. A simple concept with real world potential.

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