Drone’s view stirs curiosity to discover Brisbane’s backyard and beyond

A ‘virtual joystick’ that allows viewers to feel, touch and trace the Brisbane river is a key feature in the latest artistic creation to be unveiled at QUT’s award-winning display hub, The Cube.

The new exhibition, called Trace, Touch, Feel – The Brisbane River based at QUT’s Gardens Point campus, is part of Curiocity Brisbane which is being held March 12-28 to celebrate Brisbane’s contribution to science, technology, innovation, and the arts.

The audience is invited to steer their own path in an odyssey that immerses them from the historical origins of Moreton Bay through the city’s centre to Wivenhoe Dam.

“It’s spatial art meets Steampunk and the Brisbane River,” says lead artist and co-creator Grania Kelly (pictured right above).

“Imagine virtually piloting your own journey with a Steampunk drone on a large screen and feeling a tingling sensation under your hand as you watch the landscape glide by.”

The tactile sensation is delivered through Ultrahaptics technology that creates the feeling of touch in mid-air through ultrasonic pulses.

“As you draw near signposted landmarks along the way, the pressure on your hand intensifies, luring you to steer a descent. If you chose to take the plunge, your funky steampunk drone morphs into a sophisticated drone-helicopter and you begin a super-real, super high-resolution 360-degree column landing,” Ms Kelly said.

“There are five destinations you can choose to land, each a unique, immersive perspective on the interplay of how the river and natural environment has shaped the city and continues to co-exist with the city.”

The documentary filmmaker and immersive storyteller of StarSapphire Productions worked with QUT’s Visualisation and Interactive Solutions for Engagement and Research team to develop the artwork which uses the latest technology to the two-storey sized screens.

The exhibition is supported by SEQ Water and the Queensland Government, with the latest up-to-date geospatial data and satellite imagery published through the Queensland Globe.

The interactive touch screens allow people to touch, pinpoint a location using their fingertips and experience and explore the location.

VISER Manager Gavin Winter (pictured top left above) said the display embeds visualisations of the region’s natural water channels from the Brisbane River, the infrastructure of our water supplies, storm water pipe networks and electric grids.

“Through interactive exploration of spatial data, you discover Brisbane’s river as an ecological landform that has shaped the city’s engineering and evolving land uses,” Mr Winter said.

“You can find your own home, backyard and local playgrounds and see where we connect to the river and our city.”

The exhibition was co-created by StarSaphhire Productions and QUT’s VISER team.

PhD researcher Michael Hunter will also showcase Future Cities for Future People Reality which uses augmented reality and the camera on a phone to recognise markers that triggers virtual experiences.

Professor Peter Anderson, QUT’s Executive Director, Carumba Institute will also be taking part in the Curious Conversations with Brett Leavy titled Virtual Time Machines for Cultural Storytelling.

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