New Data61 Lab to accelerate Australia’s Augmented Reality research

Group photo taken at the Data61 opening.
Left to right: Research Leader CSIRO Data61 John Taylor, Chief Operating Officer CSIRO Hazel Bennett, Assistant Minister for Science, Jobs and Innovation Zed Seselja, ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr, CSIRO Data61 Scientist Matt Adcock.

CSIRO’s Data61 has opened its new Immersive Environments Lab­ in Canberra – a cutting edge workroom dedicated to applied research for Next Gen augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and 3D web. This is technology that brings expert advice and guidance where it’s needed, without having to account for the cost and lost time of travel.

The Lab’s mixed reality research will use the technique of adding virtual computer graphics to a user’s view of the physical world through different interfaces. In our increasingly digital-physical world, this technology provides the capability to transform the way we work across many sectors, our skills and the quality of life of workers and consumers.

With the help of AR and VR, emergency responders, for instance, will be able to ‘beam in’ to help deliver first aid. Vocational trainers will be able to use mixed reality tools to help them learn critical skills in analysis, modelling, design and simulation. Forensic examiners will inspect crime scenes from remote locations, and Sydney-based engineers will be able to help fix a machine located anywhere in Australia.

Data61 is already working on AR projects related to health, future cities, education, agriculture and manufacturing, to name a few. The Lab is also collaborating with Australian small businesses that are aiming to be early to market with new AR services, and working with Government partners that are adopting research from the Lab.

Investment in this kind of science and technology is a centrepiece of the Jobs and Innovation portfolio, and a key focus for Assistant Minister for Science, Jobs and Innovation Zed Seselja, who attended the Lab opening, and toured the new facility.

The Australian Government’s 2018-19 Budget includes a $2.4 billion investment in the Australian Technology and Science Growth Plan that will ensure cutting-edge digital research infrastructure, grow our space industry, provide more opportunities to skill our workforce, and help our local entrepreneurs and businesses to improve their productivity, create jobs, and access global markets.

One of its components is nearly $30 million to develop the artificial and machine learning capabilities of Australian businesses and workers, which will deliver exciting opportunities across the economy, similar to the Immersive Environments Lab and other undertakings like it.

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