Designing playful technologies to help the ANU community to make sustainable choices

External Member

ANU Institute for Climate, Energy, & Disaster Solutions


Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing our planet, and now is the time to take urgent action. The ANU Below Zero goal is “for ANU to achieve below zero emissions by 2030 for energy, waste, work travel and direct on-campus greenhouse gas emissions”.

This project will involve designing, implementing, and evaluating a digital or tangible technology that will educate and encourage the ANU community (staff, students, and visitors) to make sustainable choices in a fun and playful way, particularly for those who are new to ANU campus.

You can create a digital and/or tangible technology design depending on your skills and interests. Your design must include elements of gamification and play, such as competition and reward mechanisms (e.g., collecting digital badges). You can incorporate machine learning or data visualisation into the design if you have the skills and interest to do this.

Your design must focus on a the sustainability of a particular activity or practice. Examples of areas that your design could address include:

  • Waste disposal options (e.g., teaching the ANU community about how to recycle in Canberra or use community compost facilities)
  • Public transport and active transport availability (e.g., identifying cycling facilities around the campus so cyclists know where they can ride/park/shower)
  • Food emissions (e.g., creating a better understanding of food choices in the context of emissions)

Or you can propose your own relevant area and practice.

You may have the opportunity to share your completed project on the ANU Below Zero website and social media channels if you wish.

Your project should address the following stages of the design process, depending on the project length: literature review, contextual research, design ideation and prototyping, implementation and evaluation. For a 6-unit project, you may focus on either the literature review and contextual research phase, OR the design ideation, prototyping, and evaluation phase. For 12-24 unit projects, you are expected to follow the whole design sequence.

If you have previously completed COMP3900/COMP6390, you cannot reuse any part of your coursework assessment for this project. You must choose a different topic to your COMP3900/COMP6390 assessment.


Required skills

  • (For digital technology projects) Completed coursework or experience in programming, mobile application and/or web application development
  • (For tangible user interface projects) Completed coursework in electrical engineering and/or familiarity with electronics
  • You must have a passion for your proposed project topic and have the skills to complete your project independently within the given timeframe

Suggested skills

  • Completion of COMP3900/COMP6390 or relevant experience in human-computer interaction and user experience design is highly advantageous
  • An understanding of game design, behavioural psychology, and/or environmental science is desirable

How to apply

To submit an expression of interest for this project, please email by Monday 14 February 2022 with the subject line: “Student Project EOI: Designing digital and tangible technologies to help the ANU community to make sustainable choices”

Your email must include all of the following for your application to be considered:

  • Academic transcript(s)
  • CV
  • 1-page project proposal with your project idea, motivation, methods, deliverables, and timeline. You should reference HCI publications from the ACM Digital Library in your proposal to show how your idea is new or different to what has been done before. State your degree program, project course code, and project length.

Background Literature


Environmental sustainability, climate change, emissions reduction, carbon negative, ANU Below Zero, human-computer interaction, mobile applications

Updated:  10 August 2021/Responsible Officer:  Dean, CECS/Page Contact:  CECS Marketing