See Inside A School Of Visual Effects, CDW Studios

Some of the world’s most talented people in visual effects graduated from CDW Studios in Adelaide.

Because we love technology and film here at Hybrid World, we visited CDW Studios, a School of Visual Effects based in Adelaide. Continue reading “See Inside A School Of Visual Effects, CDW Studios”

The OrbIT System Proves Games Can Be Therapy

An accessible gaming system for people with hand impairments.

For people with hand impairments, playing video games isn’t always possible. But the OrbIT accessible gaming system provides an alternative.

“It facilitates access for people who have an impairment,” says David Hobbs, Lecturer and Rehabilitation Engineer at Flinders University. “They can play video or computer games, but at the same time, they’re getting therapy – and that’s the power. They’re getting access to a health alternative through the technology we’ve developed,” he says.

The development process took two and a half years from the initial idea to the first trial. More than twelve different professional disciplines were represented in the team, from industrial design to physiotherapy.

OrbIT’s reception has been sweepingly positive – “especially from children,” says Hobbs. “They want to take OrbIT home.”

What are the games like?

“Most of the games are interactive, fun games. And the reason for that is we want people to engage and play with it,” says Hobbs.

“The ultimate plan is to increase our portfolio of games, and to increase our games catalogue, so we have more attraction and more appeal. Games for little children; games for teenagers; games for adults and more learning games that make the grey matter [of the brain] – the cerebral part – work really well.”

Does it have other applications?

Other benefits of the OrbIT system might soon be uncovered.

“We’re very keen to trial it with people who have Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, because we believe it might provide a neuroprotective effect where they can game and use both their hands, and receive signals through their hands at the same time,” says Hobbs.

“So it may have the effect were it can be used as a preventative. But at the moment, we’re seeing it as a rehabilitative intervention for increased and improved hand function.”

If you’d like to know more about the OrbIT system, connect with us and we’ll put you in touch with David. He can also be found on Twitter at @DavidHobbs08.

Do you have a tech idea of your own? Here are the reasons why you should apply to our HWA LAB.

Five-day technology event #HybridWorldADL returns to Adelaide in July.

From AR to VR: Lateral Vision Are Virtual Tour Experts

They specialise in exploring place and space.

Lateral Vision, who operate out of Tonsley in Adelaide, combine visuals with technology to create virtual tours, virtual reality and augmented reality.

Starting with Google Street View and capturing virtual tours for businesses, they found clients wanted more – so they developed their own virtual tour software platform. Their recent clients include Great Southern Rail (put on the HoloLens, and you can see the train passing through Australia’s desert from the comfort of your room) and Flinders University (an adventure through the uni).

Do you have a tech idea of your own? Here are the reasons why you should apply to our HWA LAB.

Five-day technology event #HybridWorldADL returns to Adelaide in July.

The Sky’s Not The Limit, It’s The Beginning: A Chat With Dr. Alice Gorman, Space Archaeologist

We learn about her journey into the emerging field of space archaeology.

“Looking at the stars was a massive influence for me,” says Dr. Alice Gorman of her earliest memories observing space. “When I was a little kid, I grew up on a farm. We had the milky way right there.”

Gorman is a Senior Lecturer at Flinders University, and a leader in the field of space archaeology. But it wasn’t a field she originally intended to explore. She says the night sky, coupled with a set of science encyclopaedias her father bought from a travelling salesperson, actually prompted her to first become interested in astrophysics.

“I wanted to be an astrophysicist, and I also wanted to be an archaeologist. But in school systems, girls are discouraged from going into STEM… it’s not necessarily overt, but it’s definitely there. Or was there,” Gorman says.

“I had a revelation one day – while looking at the sky – that space junk might have archaeological value.”

“So I ended up becoming an archaeologist. It wasn’t until I finished my PHD and I was working in a heritage job, that I had a revelation one day – while looking at the sky – that space junk might have archaeological value. So that set me on this path.”

What is space archaeology?

To a person first hearing the words ‘space archaeology’, it might sound like an oxymoron.

“People generally think archaeology is about old stuff. And most of the time, it is. But it’s also a set of theories and methods. So you can apply those to any period, and what I’ve chosen to do is apply those to the contemporary era,” says Gorman.

“I’m focusing on space exploration as a technology, as an industry and as a whole social world. It’s really about human behaviour and interaction with technology – it just happens to be quite recent and modern.”

Why is space junk an issue?

Of particular interest to Gorman is space junk, or the objects humans leave behind after space exploration (as an aside, her Twitter handle is @drspacejunk). She’s critical of the amount of objects humans have abandoned in space, though she acknowledges the technical and financial difficulties associated with removing them.

“At the moment, everyone recognises we have a huge problem with the amount of space junk in Earth’s orbit. Everybody would like to do something about it, but the technological difficulties are so great that no one has yet,” she says.

“There’s often fuel left (in space junk), and the fuel is unstable and explosive. You have all these rocket bodies floating around with unstable fuel, and you don’t know when – or if – they’re going to explode.”

“You have all these rocket bodies floating around with unstable fuel, and you don’t know when – or if – they’re going to explode.”

Guidelines have been created to minimise the amount of new debris, but Gorman says almost half of all missions launched fail to meet them.

“It’s terrible! And the reason they don’t do that is because it costs money.”

Can space junk be valuable?

In Gorman’s view, some space junk is highly significant. She points to the Vanguard 1 and Australis-OSCAR 5 as examples.

“Vanguard 1 is now the oldest satellite in Earth’s orbit. It was launched in 1958, and is very much a Cold War satellite. The beginnings of space technology is fascinating,” she says.

“Australis-OSCAR 5 was built in the 1960s and launched in 1970, so it’s a piece of Australian space history that’s out there. At the global level, you might say it doesn’t mean anything – but it means something to Australians.”

Gorman is also fond of Indonesia’s first communications satellite, Palapa A1. She says technology can have a positive social impact.

“It launched in 1976, which is pretty early for a country that isn’t one of the big space players. The idea was that the satellite would unite all the different islands and language groups of Indonesia. Socially, it’s very significant.”

This year’s #HybridWorldADL will take place in late July in the city of Adelaide. For more details about the event, click here.