Sight Seeing at Sippy Downs: Technology at its best.

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

Today as I stood outside the engineering department of the University of the Sunshine Coast and admired the reclaimed land, the kangaroos that were clearly quite relaxed on campus I had no idea of the technological advances that I was about to see. I had thought I was reasonably up to date but in fact I too am a dinosaur.

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

This visualisation facility (sorry for the poor quality photos) contains a 2D/3D cave where the student gets an experience like no other. There are only four of these in the world, this is the biggest with 20 panels, and USC are the only facility which is using it for teaching. Total cost 37.2 million dollars.

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

Only 15 people are allowed inside at the one time and if you suffer from vertigo or epilepsy the area is off-limits. We stood in the middle surrounded by the 20 screens. Initially we saw 2D images. The quality and definition were amazing. Different screens could be shown at the same time allowing students to return to a screen, unlike seeing the slide for a short time and then its gone. Then we put on our three D glasses and found ourselves whisked off to Cameroon where we drove through the village, inspected inside their houses, visited the market and toilet arrangements. This gives the student the experience of being there and they can gain greater understanding of the limitations of their projects, see what really needs attention and so much more.

IMG_1703

© irene waters 2015

Then a water pump was displayed. It was floating in front of me in the middle of the room. I felt I could reach out and touch it. By turning the object the student could really look inside it and see how it worked. I could see that surgery could be learnt under these circumstances. In another section of the faculty which we didn’t have time to visit a smaller display allowed touch interaction. To me it was mind-boggling and the value to the student must be tremendous.

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

The back of a couple of the panels.

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

Next I went to the interactive lab where visualisation using 3D and virtual reality allows the wearer to interact in a way that is powerful and would enhance learning as you could manipulate, become immersed in and try concepts that are purely in your imagination. Here they can become real. My nephews would have loved it. I put on the goggles and whilst stationary I walked around the outside of a building. wherever I looked I walked. It was terrifying as I had to stop myself from falling off a cliff. I certainly became quite disoriented as I tried to save myself from various scenarios.

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

The 3D printer was in this room as well and was churning out little artistic vases that a group of school children had designed. Just amazing.

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

Life is much different. The scope is huge. I think I’m lucky just to get a glimpse of it. I’m also pleased that higher education has gone from teacher centred to student centred. Gone are those days of 400 students in a lecture theatre. No hope of asking questions but with fifteen. What individualised learning that must provide.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. Commenced a masters by research in 2014.
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8 Responses to Sight Seeing at Sippy Downs: Technology at its best.

  1. Just WOW!!! What an amazing experience. Truly 21st century possibilities.
    I’ve had several experiences with 3-D travel and loved them, but this goes far beyond.
    This might take you a while to process.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Norah says:

    Awesome! How amazing, Irene. You are a braver woman than I. I’m not sure they’d (or I’d) let me in, though I ‘d love to have a look. How amazing that Australia has the biggest in the world, and at USC. What a feather in their cap! Lovely to see the kangaroos alongside the space age technology. As you say, a fantastic opportunity for learning. My mind boggles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There were also a busload of primary aged children visiting the interractive learning centre and were doing activities on the grass outside whilst we were in there. I think that it is great that the university is prepared to open its doors to young and old (I was on a U3A tour) and probably the community generally. It’ll certainly give the young folk dreams to aspire to and us oldies an understanding of the way technology is taking us. They are also the only accredited eco university in Australia with their own recycling facilities and they have a lot of researchers working on sustainability and the wetlands that are behind the kangaroos. They plan on making it into a public space in the years to come but with a lot of research going into it. You can probably tell I was impressed.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Charli Mills says:

    My mind is blown! I had no idea of this technology. I was excited to see kangaroos on the front lawn and had no idea you were going to show me something even more spectacular!

    Liked by 1 person

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