Data61 gets new immersive lab

James Riley
Editorial Director

Data61 has opened the doors to its new Immersive Environments Lab to focus on research and develop in augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and 3D web technologies.

The purpose-built facility is part of the CSIRO’s $100 million research centre in Canberra which opened last year, and comes conveniently just as Microsoft named Data61 as one of its first “mixed reality partners” for its HoloLens technology in Australia .

The lab will develop interactive computer graphics and computational imaging services for industries including retail, manufacturing, agriculture, and construction.

Cheryl George: Augmented reality and virtual reality are Data61 area of expertise

It features a fleet of wearable holographic computing devices, spatial cameras, 3D object scanners, virtual touch displays, interactive projection mapping stages, and motion capture rigs.

Cheryl George, government and stakeholder relations, business development and commercialisation at Data61, said from an economic standpoint the decision to open the lab is warranted.

“We see some enormous opportunities for Australian companies to benefit and grow their economic returns by adopting and exploring these technologies,” she said.

“Some of the areas where we already have projects and are working on include health where we’re looking at include virtual reality training to support surgeons and remote guidance for maintenance.

“There are some great opportunities for companies in Australia to see some economic returns [from the lab].”

Ms George said that while the lab is new, the areas of research and the capabilities to be developed are areas that Data61 has been working on for some time.

“This new lab is really about bringing together and linking up some of the capabilities that already sit within Data61,” she said.

“If you look at the teams, capabilities, and expertise in Data61, some of the key areas are relevant to the future of AR, VR space such as visualisation, IoT, machine learning. We have existing deep expertise across Data61 and our network of 30 partner universities, and we can couple that with the deep digital expertise of the CSIRO.

“Rather than a new investment, we’re bringing those existing capabilities around this industry opportunity and providing a single point of entry for companies to engage. We want to align that existing research with a real need and opportunity in industry.”

Ultimately, Ms George said Data61’s goal is encourage greater collaboration between industry, government, and academia.

The lab has already begun working with Australian SMEs who are aiming to be early to market with new AR services, as well as government partners that are adopting research from the lab.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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