Australasian CRC for Interaction Design

Litmus is the monthly newsletter of ACID, the Australasian CRC for Interaction Design

CEO’s Message


Dear friends and colleagues of ACID

Many of you would have heard that ACID is now entering its final year as a Cooperative Research Centre. The CRC program funded by the federal government has a 7 year lifecycle and ACID must conform to the program guidelines. While the time seems to have sped along, and the seven year life of the CRC has come around all too quickly, from July 1 2009 ACID will be entering the last 12 months of its natural life. It is certainly a truism that all good things must come to an end and ACID is no exception to that rule.

In our six years of existence, we have done some terrific work that has been exciting and innovative and we have been privileged to work with some exceptionally talented individuals and organisations, which has been both stimulating and enjoyable. As we enter the last year of our funding, ACID is busy maturing and transferring that work to various contexts so it has an ongoing life and impact. This will be important both for our shareholders and for those researchers and partners who see opportunities for the intellectual property we have created to have benefit long after ACID has ceased to exist.

At the time ACID started its life, the field of Interaction design was fledging in Australia. We are now proud to see that it is a well established industry sector and that ACID has played a part in defining and promoting the value of ID in Australia. As well ACID has value-added to the work of many staff and students at our partner universities, particularly those building a research career, and we have assisted to build a national, and in many cases international, community of scholars around our ID agenda.

The ACID board determined earlier this year that is was unlikely that another CRC in Interaction Design was warranted or competitive in the reducing CRC budget context, so a rebid has not been pursued at this time.

There are likely to be other CRC bids that build on aspects of ACID’s work and draw in new initiatives to address current research needs in Australia. Some people involved in ACID will likely find a place in these new initiatives and bring their experience and skills with them. We are proud to be able to assist them with these opportunities as they arise, in order to promote the work of interaction design in the future.

Suzannah Conway
Chief Executive Officer

What’s New?


On June 5th ACID project leader Andrew Sorensen released the MIXDEX (lite) iPhone Application, a free app that turns your iPhone/iTouch into a DJ in your pocket! In the first 2 weeks we recieved almost 3,000 downloads internationally and are curently sitting in the top 10% of AppStore free music section downloads... so if you’re in possession of an iPhone or iTouch (or know someone who is) and haven’t downloaded it yet...What’s stopping you? It’s free, it’s fun and it’s fabulous!

iPhone and iTouch users - download MIXDEX here

MIXDEX offers 60 custom audio tracks and five decks allowing you to mix up some wicked beats. You control the start and duration of each audio track and their position on one of five mixing decks. Then when you’re ready hit the Matrix editor and control all five decks for some DJ fun. Don’t forget to plug MIXDEX into a sound system for some serious fun!

If you like MIXDEX lite you’re going to love the pro version. The pro version will allow you to:

  • Upload your own audio tracks
  • Record your performances
  • Apply audio effects to the audio playback
  • Manually scrub the time marker
  • Machine-generate variations to the Matrix Mixer
  • Set sample start position and playback rates



ACID is proud to announce Jamskolan, the first International Symposium and Development Workshop for Network Jamming to be held from the 3rd-12th of August 2009 at the Kelvin Grove campus of Queensland University of Technology.

The term JamSkolan honours the innovative work with jam2jam by our Swedish teachers and researchers at Humfryskolan in Malmo, Sweden; a school whose name indicates their connection with film-making and media production in education.

The workshop will bring together world leaders in generative arts-making software; educational and community development, music industry and community partners together with music educators from the USA and Sweden.

International Guests include:

  • Dr Eva Saether, Lund University, Malmo Academy of Music, Sweden and Master teacher researcher Per Skold
  • Dr Alex Ruthmann, University of Massachusetts Lowell, USA and Master teacher researcher Anthony Beatrice
  • Dr Matthew D. Thibeault, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign USA and EdD researcher Melanie Matchett

Australian researchers: Steve Dillon (QUT), Andrew Johnston (UTS), Wayne Taylor (QUT), Michael Dezuanni (QUT) Jeremy Yuille (RMIT) Andrew Brown (QUT), Andrew Sorensen (ACID), Thorin Kerr, (ACID-RA), John Ong (QUT), Barbara Adkins (QUT), Bert Bongers (UTS), Adam Postula (UQ), Kathy Hirche (QUT), Fiona Vance, Dr Tim Kitchen (Strathcona), James Humberstone (MLC)

The workshop will develop experience design resources and new jamScenes to provide access to collaborative performance for people of diverse cultures and abilities. We will work with a range of new controllers to enable access for disabled performers and develop application scenarios for the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Program.

JamSkolan will form the foundation of theoretical and pedagogical practice for using generative arts in schools and communities as creativity support tools. Jamskolan will form the basis for a Generative Arts Educational Research Network.

For more information don’t hesitate to contact Steve Dillon or check out the Jamskolan details here

For a nifty treat check out Steve’s first Jam2Jam birthday card

ACID Abroad


ACID's research activities are increasingly international, and on a recent visit to the USA, I was able to make contact with some of our research connections in that country. So here's some of the news.

A few ACID researchers and students, including myself were fortunate to have received support from the Apple University Consortium to attend Apple World Wide Developer's Conference - hence the visit to the USA. The WWDC is a huge event with lots of in depth technical sessions about Mac and iPhone development. Fortunately the Adaptive Media program, thanks to the efforts of Andrew Sorensen, released the MIXDEX lite iPhone DJ application the day the conference began, so it was great to be able to show that to almost everyone I met which was a great debut for this work. I managed to have meetings with the Apple audio team to get the inside news on where their development was going and they were very interested in our research in generative music systems and technical issues raised which they might be able to address.

I was also able to meet up with collaborators and potential partners for the Network Jamming project. This included continuing discussions with representatives from AVID about their partnership with the project and to show them our latest developments. They were particularly impressed by the application of our generative media content processes to educational settings.

Secondly, there were discussions with representatives from Eyebeam in New York about their use of jam2jam in their community workshops, focused on creative digital media. This extended links created with them through the State Library of Queensland’s The Edge project; you may recall that Steve Dillon was a speaker at the The Edge on Education on June 24.

Thirdly, the Network Jamming project has a couple of field trial sites in the USA, and I was able to meet up with Alex Ruthman, who manages the trials for us in Massachusetts, to discuss his progress and update him on new features and research directions. School trials in Massachusetts have provided valuable data for us and you can visit the jam2jam web site to see some of the jams that have been posted from there.

Overall it is clear that much of the research being done at ACID has international application and this is evident in the high regard for our work and the willingness of international researchers and companies to collaborate with us.

Andrew Brown

ACID Research Manager

Out & About


If you were in the vicinity of the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre this week you would have seen ACID’s Nnub on display at the International Association for Community Development and Community Development Queensland Conference 2009, we’re installing one soon in the QUT Gardens Point library too, so watch out for a Nnub portal near you!

The Network Jamming project has released the first version of the jam2jam software for the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) computer. There is an Activity page for the application at the OLPC site,

ACID Research Manager, Andrew Brown, met with members of the OLPC team in Boston last week to launch the application. They were very impressed with the quality of the work and happy to have another music application on the OLPC platform.

ACID was lucky enough to enjoy the excitement of switching roles and becoming the ‘clients’ for a brief stint this month. QUT’s DNB701 Industrial Design Students, led by ACID Researcher Sam Bucolo, went through the process of advanced product and system design relevant to industrial design clients, of which we were one. Their presentations were insightful, innovative and inspiring, using ACID’s Network Jamming and ACID Vision projects. We’ll keep you informed on any developments.

Steve Dillon was one of the featured speakers at the State Library of Queensland’s Conversations at The Edge on Wednesday 24th June. The conversations were around new forms and techniques for teaching and learning and from all reports Steve was a huge hit!

The Edge, a new centre for experimentation and creativity, providing innovative tools to enable young people to explore critical ideas, green initiatives, new design practices and media making has begun construction. The Edge is a Queensland Government project through the State Library of Queensland at the Cultural Centre, South Bank.

In the lead-up to the opening of The Edge, the SLQ is having a series of community conversations focusing on principles, themes and practices core to the culture and operation of The Edge.

The next will be ‘The Green Edge: embedding sustainability’ on 14 August 2009 if you’re available and interested.

Some of our ACID Staff are attending, and in fact organising, the Australasian Computer Music Conference taking place at QUT, Kelvin Grove Campus from July 2 - 4.

ACMC 2009 is a festival of contemporary computer music theory, technology and performance. There are free workshops and concerts, so if you’re in Brisbane and would like to see our hardworking Adaptive Media and Networking Jamming Researchers get the details here

ACID Doctoral Student Toby Gifford, who has been working on the ACID Vision Project with Dave McKinnon, has been nominated for the Next Big Thing Award: Vote for him and listen to his amazing JamBot here

The ACID Recensio Project had two outings this week at the QUT TILS Taster exhibitions. Project member Lance Devine presented the research and its application to several hundred people over the 2 sessions.

Education Update


The following ACID Students have had outstanding success of late in having their papers accepted at these prestigious conferences:

Julien Phalip, Viveka Weiley and Damian Hills have had their work accepted for Creativity and Cognition 09 at UC Berkeley.

Yolande Strengers received a peer-voted ‘highly commended’ speaker award for a presentation to the MMI (Measurements and Metering Innovation) Conference in Sydney in May 2009.

Sarah Moss has had her paper accepted for the ISEA (15th International Symposium on Electronic Art) Conference at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland.

Fiona Redhead was successful in her paper submission to the 6th International Conference on Ubiquitous Intelligence and Computing held in Brisbane.

Miek Dunbar is kicking up his heels now that he has reached completion of his PHD - Beyond Skin Deep: researching the benefits of integrating communication design within interaction design. We look forward to reading about his adventures along the way in next month’s Litmus. CONGRATULATIONS Miek!

Barbara Adkins, Education Manager and Therese Nolan-Brown, Research Assistant, have been working hard with ACID Students and we now have fivestudents communicating with identified industry organisations to discuss internship placements. So watch this space for more news.

Technology Update


Master Chen’s Microdot - Altering your perception of the outside world!

Greetings readers and welcome to The Microdot where I'll be presenting the latest and greatest apps and gadgets to speed you on your travels through cyberspace.

It seems like only yesterday that Windows Vista was unleashed on an excited populace, only to attract controversy and derision. Irate customers rolled back to XP in their droves. Subsequent service packs gave users a smoother ride, but the damage was done. Hoping to avoid another disastrous OS launch, Bill and the gang have decided to let everyone try out Windows 7 for free until well beyond its launch in October. Upon first impression it bears a striking resemblance to the hated Vista but installation is smooth, even on an old Dell Inspiron 6000, and there are some fancy new features that make it worth checking out. For more info go to the official site

If your line of work sees you out of the office and presenting at locations where the setup is unknown or inadequate, then the Aiptek Pocket Cinema V10 might be just what you're looking for. Able to beam a 42” image onto any surface, this pocket-sized projector will save you lugging expensive equipment across the country or fiddling with an alien A/V rig whilst the audience glowers at your incompetence. Available from your local tech supplier for under $450, this little beauty could be a real life-saver. (ed. saw it on sale at Officeworks for $395 this week)

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Calendar iconUpcoming Events


Australasian Computer Music Conference (ACMC 2009) 2-4

PowerJam 3-4


Jamskolan 3-12

15th International Symposium on Electronic Art(ISEA2009) 23-1st Sept

UX Australia 2009 26-28


Creativity and Cognition 27-30

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