Case Study: How the Queensland University of Technology brought sound to the world’s largest multi-touch installation

Have you always wanted to hear the sound of underwater whales? Have you always wanted to wonder at an energy-efficient driving simulator? Well, you can do all of this and more at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

QUT is a public research university located in the urban coastal city of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. QUT is located on three campuses in the Brisbane area: Gardens Point, Kelvin Grove, and Caboolture. The university has approximately 35,000 undergraduate students and 5,000 postgraduate students, of which 6,000 are international students. It has over 4,000 staff members and an annual budget of more than AU $750 million. QUT ranks within the top 10 Australian universities and the upper 3 per cent world-wide.

At more than two stories tall and 46 feet wide, the Cube at QUT is a virtual playground of discovery. It houses what is considered to be the world’s largest interactive multi-touch display. The boomerang-shaped attraction allows visitors to engage directly with enormous exhibits such as a virtual reef, an energy-efficient driving simulator, and a physics playroomd where participants create and disassemble a series of objects to learn more about the wonders of science.

The Cube combines projected edge-blending images, dozens of interactive monitors, and an ambient audio system that gives participants an all encompassing and highly educational experience. QUT chose Biamp’s Tesira platform for The Cube’s unique audio system.

The AU $3.5 million installation consists of six separate display zones. These blend projected images to create a fluid two-storey screen of animated video. It consists of 20 touchscreen panels that allow users to interact with and control content by moving their fingertips across the displays.

All images respond in real-time via infrared camera technology incorporated directly into the panels. These panels sense both the physical presence of the participants as well as their hand movements for a truly interactive experience. With the interactive displays in place, what was needed was a robust audio solution that would keep pace with stunning visual technologies and provide a complete interactive experience for Cube visitors.

AV integrators selected a solution that was not only extremely flexible, but also had a high degree of customisation, allowing them to easily adjust the system’s audio properties to match the acoustic considerations of the space. They chose Biamp System’s Tesira digital audio processor. This allowed them to create a unique content-driven audio experience for every user, regardless of what was happening in another area of the screen.

Tesira provided participants with a captivating soundscape and responsive audio whenever an onscreen object was selected. This could be the song of a whale, or the flow of a small water fountain. Every detail imaginable was considered, resulting in a hands-on AV experience unlike anything else in the world.

The audio system was integrated with more than 25 hidden element dipole speakers. The audio system also provided networked digital signal processing customizable configurations, and also the raw processing power needed to transport audio via approximately 96 inputs and 80 outputs.

The Cube was designed over a two-year period, and allows teachers and students to actively discover the innovative potential of QUT’s scientific community. Teachers are now using the installation to carry out their lesson plans directly on the facility’s walls.

The latter gives them access to photo-realistic moving images, crisp ambient audio, and response-based interaction. This provides tomorrow’s generation of academics with a unique sensory experience unlike any other, that opens the scientific imagination.

So, now you know how a leading university used Biamp’s Tesira platform to sync audio and video for a captivating and colossal scientific experience. Here’s to absorbing audio in one of the world’s most fascinating interactive installations…

For more information on how you can set up an interactive audio solution, contact Actis at 022-30808080 or at contact@actis.co.in.

(Content courtesy: www.biamp.com and image courtesy: www.youtube.com)

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