Design Around Corners
The Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing at Swinburne University of Technology, developed inexpensive VR technology for scientific visualisation and public education in the areas of astronomy and space science.
The Virtual Room is a revolutionary visualisation laboratory: an interactive and immersive environment available for scientific visualisation. It is appropriate for use in universities, museums and galleries, and for exhibition promoters to convey complex and challenging information to audiences in a variety of unique, innovative and engaging ways.
The back story.
One of the unique aspects of the display system is the way it allows participants to experience a changing perspective as they walk around whatever is contained within the Virtual Room.
Einstein’s Universe: This truly unique 3D experience represents the product of thousands of hours of supercomputer simulations of the Universe. It takes the audience back to the limit of the observable Universe and on a cosmic voyage through time explaining the evolution of galaxies and the structure of the cosmos.
To interpret the audio and visual information from the astrophysicists and utilise the elements and principles of design to describe astronomic information for a specific space that is meaningful for an audience within a museum context.
Construct interface layers that may be of specific importance throughout the sequence of animations again taking into consideration elements and principles of design in relation to motion and the specific space.
The primary aim was to provide information for those that wanted it – without hindering the main event on the big screen – for those who chose to just watch the spectacle. The important criteria in making it work successfully, was by achieving an exciting balance between the content on the large screen, and that on the interface.
The interface concept was flexible enough to be considered for use throughout the presentation to explain information relating to the other events and not purely to the Supernovae.
By incorporating the interface into the third dimension and adding another plane to the perspective, gave the presentation increased visual appeal.
Supporting information was dynamic and updated throughout the event simulation. Some information only needed to be displayed temporarily, this was achieved with “transparent” windows which opened as required.
The visual design is unobtrusive, when viewed in conjunction with the film. Its appearance has been designed to be complimentary to the content without overpowering it. The interface has the ability to impart as much information as the viewer wishes to decipher, on the other hand, the viewer can choose to watch the underlying film without hindrance.
“Australia’s leading industry body for interactive media, the Australian Interactive Media Industry Association (AIMIA) announced Museum Victoria has won the Best New Digital Content category for The Virtual Room at its annual awards.”