Led by A/Professor Sonja Pedell, the Future Self and Design Living Lab (FSDLL) created an Interactive Sandbox to raise awareness for deforestation and the plight of Toolangi forest in Victoria, Australia. The Interactive Sandbox has since been transformed into a musical instrument for people living with dementia. 

The Sandbox produces 3D holophonic audio for the projection of 128 audio signals complete with detailed environmental perceptual cues.

A unique, interactive Sandbox exploring the plight of Toolangi forest

Toolangi forest is under threat. Its last remaining pockets of intact old growth forest are being logged, which has compromised endangered habitat, heritage and Melbourne’s water supply. 

A research project investigated public knowledge about the forest and found that despite the plethora of media, not much about this forest was publicly known. 

In response to this, our team developed an Interactive Sandbox to explore the topic. 

Our Sandbox was designed to use both physical and sensory features as a mechanism for interaction with complex topics. 

Our Sandbox includes the following unique features and abilities:
  • multi-sensory interactions and holophonic audio of forest animals and trees that can be placed and removed, with visual and audio projection of water.
  • a highly capable system that maps both point-cloud and luminance data for gestural interaction, affording video-keying and mesh rendering techniques.
  • 3D holophonic audio for the projection of 128 signals, complete with detailed environmental perceptual cues. 

The resulting product is a rich immersion experience of nature, logging and water supply issues.A unique, interactive Sandbox exploring the plight of Toolangi forest

Toolangi forest is under threat. Its last remaining pockets of intact old growth forest are being logged, which has compromised endangered habitat, heritage and Melbourne’s water supply. 

A research project investigated public knowledge about the forest and found that despite the plethora of media, not much about this forest was publicly known. 

In response to this, our team developed an Interactive Sandbox to explore the topic. 

Our Sandbox was designed to use both physical and sensory features as a mechanism for interaction with complex topics. 

Our Sandbox includes the following unique features and abilities:

  • multi-sensory interactions and holophonic audio of forest animals and trees that can be placed and removed, with visual and audio projection of water.
  • a highly capable system that maps both point-cloud and luminance data for gestural interaction, affording video-keying and mesh rendering techniques.
  • 3D holophonic audio for the projection of 128 signals, complete with detailed environmental perceptual cues. 

The resulting product is a rich immersion experience of nature, logging and water supply issues.

Holophonic audio of forest animals and trees that can be placed and removed with visual and audio projection of water.

The outcome: raising greater public awareness around deforestation

The Sandbox has communicated to a wide audience during private demonstrations and events. Guided by the public and active ageing groups, it was displayed at three public events (as well as Swinburne Open Day):

  • 2017 Community Care Business Transformation and Innovation Conference, organised by Global Community Resourcing.
  • 2017 Alzheimer's Australia National Conference 2017. 
  • 2019 Experience Centre Opening hosted by UMPS Health.

Our major exhibits have shown that delegates and event visitors alike are more engaged, enabling more productive conversations on the topic of logging and water supply. 

In a recent development, the Sandbox was transformed into an interactive musical instrument which we will explore with people living with dementia.

Project team

The Sandbox was transformed into an interactive musical instrument for people living with dementia.

See more projects from Future Self Living Lab

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We always welcome new partners. If you are interested in transforming ideas into commercially competitive outcomes, need the support of our research or have any other queries, contact us on +61 3 9214 6072 or email cdiadmin@swinburne.edu.au.

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