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Coding a Virtual Spacecraft in HappyBrackets

16 August 2019
10.00am – 3.00pm AEST
Science & Engineering Building, UNSW Sydney
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Person sitting at a computer writing code

Join Dr Angelo Fraietta as he explores how to make studying astronomy both creative and fun. Angelo recently developed a virtual spacecraft simulator game, where the goal for the player is to navigate their way to various planetary or stellar objects in the sky with a ‘sonified Raspberry Pi’. He developed a software library that allows people to extract astronomical data from scientific catalogues and use this as an input for generating music.

In this workshop, students will learn how to program with HappyBrackets, a Java-based creative coding tool kit, for their physical virtual spacecraft that enables it to simulate a zero-G environment, and to navigate their way to various planets by manipulating the spacecraft in your hands. Students will also learn how easy it is to obtain astronomical data from scientific catalogues and to use this data to algorithmically generate sound or music. The session will conclude when students have the opportunity to generate a personal mobile phone ringtone based upon the stars that were present in the sky at the time and location of their birth.

Dr Angelo Fraietta is a Postdoctoral fellow at Art & Design UNSW Sydney in the Interactive Media Lab. Angelo specialises in the development of interactive software and hardware devices for artistic, academic and industrial use. He recently ran a successful workshop at the Powerhouse Museum where students learned to creatively code their own musical instruments.

Location: Science & Engineering Building - Room B25

Who can attend: The event is suitable for stage 5 and 6 high school students.

The following session times are available:

Friday, 16 August: 
Session 1:
10.00am - 12.00pm
Session 2: 1.00pm - 3.00pm
Targeted at Years 9 - 12 Students

Due to limited number of places, a teacher can only bring up to 10 students to attend.


This talk is part of the program of events UNSW Sydney is presenting for National Science Week.

The UNSW program of events includes talks, tours and events that will reveal the science that blows your mind – from an unexpected method to measure dark matter to the feminist history of the internet. See the full program.