Data61 opens Immersive Environments Lab


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The CSIRO’s Data61 has opened a purpose-built laboratory for research into augmented reality, virtual reality and 3D web technologies.

The Immersive Environments Lab is part of the CSIRO’s new $100 million research facility in Canberra.

It will allow researchers to develop new interactive computer graphics and computational imaging services to help transform the retail, agriculture, manufacturing, health, construction and other industries.

The lab includes a fleet of wearable holographic computing devices, spatial cameras, 3D object scanners, haptic displays, interactive projection stages and motion capture rigs.

The building housing the lab contains a cloud-based smart glasses system which displays real-time energy usage data overlaid directly on appliances consuming the energy.

Data61 predicts that the AR/VR and 3D web industries will be worth $143 billion by 2021. Senior Research Engineer and Experimental Scientist Matt Adcock said the technologies are set to change the way Australians interact with digital systems at work and home.

“AR technologies can sense elements of the physical environment and enable delivery of holographic data right where and when it is needed most,” he said.

“Some smartphone apps already let users see, for instance, what furniture would look like in their own home. But while the hardware is evolving at a rapid pace, the digital services that can run on that hardware are just beginning to be explored.”

Potential applications for the technologies include allowing emergency services to virtually beam in to help administer first aid, or allowing maintenance workers to interact directly with smart buildings via augmented reality.

Data61 is already involved in augmented reality projects related to health, smart cities, education, agriculture and manufacturing.

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