9th August 2010

Find out about the exciting uses the near future holds for you and your mobile phone at QUT's Urban Informatics showcase at the Ekka tomorrow, Tuesday, August 10th from 1 to 5pm.

A team of PhD students and early career researchers will demonstrate their work in ubiquitous computing, urban informatics, social media, and mobile phone applications at the National Science Week Pavilion.

QUT Professor Marcus Foth said the work of the Urban Informatics Research Lab was strategically positioned at the intersection of people, place and technology with a view to exploring new opportunities afforded by real-time, ubiquitous technology that links the physical city with the digital city.

"The projects we have selected allow Ekka visitors to participate in our research work and try out new ideas and prototype systems themselves," said Professor Foth, who is the founder and team leader of the QUT Urban Informatics Research Lab.

"FixVegas, for example, is a simple yet powerful application we have released for the iPhone. It uses the in-built camera, GPS and internet access to allow Brisbane residents to report maintenance requests, such as broken park benches and pot holes in the streets, to Brisbane City Council.

"We will also demonstrate innovative ways to visualise music listening preferences and song choices in public places, a novel approach to allow people to engage in urban planning that we have developed in collaboration with Brisbane City Council, as well as new interface designs to convey information about domestic energy consumption in real-time."

QUT PhD candidate Ronald Schroeter's project, Discussions in Space, will also be showcased.

"This project is designed to allow residents to have their say about the future of Brisbane by installing large public screens at central locations. Passersby are invited to comment on and leave their 'bright ideas' on Brisbane's River City Blueprint - the new master plan for the inner city - using their mobile phone via SMS, Twitter or a website," Mr Schroeter said.

Dr Jaz Choi, an Australian Postdoctoral Fellow on the team, will showcase a project that gives visual representations of the user's ecological impact and opportunities to engage and collaborate in fostering a sustainable food culture in Queensland.

"This project will go beyond merely informing by aiming to motivate and encourage to change and take action," says Dr Jaz Choi, an Australian Postdoctoral Fellow in the team.

The National Science Week pavilion at the Ekka is part of Australia's annual celebration of science and technology and aims to encourage many scientific, bio technology, computer science and engineering communities to open their doors and 'ignite the imagination' of the public by demonstrating their science, engineering and technology achievements.

For more information, go to www.urbaninformatics.net and www.ekka.com.au

Media contact: Niki Widdowson, 07 3138 1841 or n.widdowson@qut.edu.au

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