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Winners of AARNet Excellence Awards 2013 announced at QUESTnet

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Thomas King, Associate Director, ITS UQ (second from left) accepts the First Prize award for UQ/QRNO/Qld Health: Health Research Access Project.

The winners of the AARNet Excellence Awards 2013 were announced at the QUESTnet2013 gala dinner on 4 July, held at the Gold Coast’s Royal Pines Resort.

“Choosing the winning projects was a difficult task for the panel. All the projects submitted for the Awards demonstrated innovative uses of the AARNet network and/or services that have benefited their respective institutions,”  said James Sankar AARNet’s Director, Enterprise Services.

First Prize

UQ/QRNO/Qld Health: Health Research Access Project – Innovative Use of an AARNet Service

In 2007 there was a noticeable need to improve network access for a range of Qld university staff and students placed at various hospitals/clinics (private and public) around the State.  The hospitals did not wish to be dealing with multiple universities to solve the same problem many times, so the then IT directors of Griffith University, QUT and The University of Queensland championed a project through the QRNO to tackle the issue.

The Health Research Access (HRA) project was established by the QRNO and funded by it. This delivered a number of outcomes, but most prominently was leveraging hospital-owned wireless infrastructure to deploy eduroam to a range of Qld Health hospitals about the State and at the Mater Health Services facilities in Brisbane.

Network traffic from this infrastructure is transferred to the AARNet network and back to relevant home universities and/or the Internet. In this way the universities have not had to invest in wireless access points at hospitals, and the hospitals do not have to worry about liaising with multiple universities to deploy such infrastructure or be involved with managing access accounts for staff/students.

Staff and students from universities (not just QRNO member institutions) and research organistions now visiting a range of hospitals in Qld can gain network access via AARNet’s eduroam service to carry out their work.

Second Prize

CSIRO/NMA Museum Robot project – Innovative Use of the AARNet Network

AARNet Excellence Awards Second Prize

Dr Ian Oppermann, CSIRO’s Director Digital Productivity and ServicesFlagship (right) accepts the award for for the CSIRO/NMA Museum Robot project from AARNet’s James Sankar.

CSIRO has developed and installed a system that enables students in regional Australia to participate in live, immersive, interactive, guided tours of the National Museum of Australia (NMA) from a computer in their school or local library.

Currently operating in the Landmarks Gallery of the NMA, the system consists of a semi-autonomous mobile robot which accompanies a museum educator through the gallery and streams panoramic video from an  omni-directional camera via the museum’s wifi network.

Using a standard PC, headset, web-camera, and broadband Internet connection (AARNet Network to and from the NMA), remote students log in and use a browser-based interface to look around the gallery by panning and zooming within the panoramic image.

They can click on highlighted objects within their field of view to explore additional digital content associated with those objects, and are challenged to respond to real-time quizzes posed by the educator.

The students can see, hear, and interact with the educator and other students via a video-chat system that is integrated into the browser-based interface.

The system also incorporates a management interface for museum staff to plan and book tours, and for curators to upload digital content and link it to objects on display in the gallery.

This mobile telepresence system overcomes the limitations of exisiting one-to-one systems by using a panoramic video camera system, an innovative network architecture that scales, and the high-speed broadband provided by the AARNet Network. This combination of elements allows multiple connections from outside the museum to the robot (currently up to sixteen simultaneous connections).

The result is that multiple students can share the robot, can tour the galleries of the museum at the same time, but can have a unique visual experience. They can each interact with the museum educator and can watch and hear one another interact – just as if they were together in the gallery. This project, enabled by the AARNet Network, is a true world-first innovation, demonstrating an exciting new way to explore our cultural heritage.

Third Prize

Queensland University of Technology Cube Project – Innovative Use of an AARNet Service

AARNet Excellence Awards Third Prize

Mr Steve Johnston, Acting CEO of CAUDIT presents the award for QUT’s Cube Project to Dr Gordon Howell, Director Learning Environments and Technology Services (Acting), Division of Technology, Information and Learning Support, Queensland University of Technology. Also in the picture are James Sankar, and Mahmoud Abo Elwafa from AARNet and QUESTNet MC Kent Adams.

The ‘Cube’, located in QUT’s Science and Engineering Centre is a world-first, delivering unique learning, research, and entertainment experiences for all members of the University, school children, and public visitors.

The Cube is an array of 48 high-definition multi-touch panels and 14 high-definition projectors assembled into 6 surfaces and powered by over 30 high-end graphics workstations. The system is underpinned by state-of-the-art audio-visual processors, and multiple Ethernet networks connected to AARNET and the Internet.

The content experiences are varied, and will evolve to integrate cutting edge collaboration, real-time interaction, and visualisation platforms, all leveraging the high performance network back-bone that AARNET provide.

Already the Cube has provided rich learning experiences to hundreds of primary and secondary school students and made a statement to QUT and the academic community that QUT will lead Australian research and development of science and technology onto the world stage.

Without the support of the enterprise, and broader providers like AARNet, the Cube would not reach the audience it does, and would not deliver the impact it does on a daily basis.

More information:

Jane Gifford Manager, Digital Communications & Media Relations, AARNet


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