Pioneering virtual reality technology behind a Sydney Film Festival installation has also produced an innovative Australian export success story: a 360-degree, 3D mine safety-training simulator which promises to boost worker safety in China's mining industry.
One of China's leading mine safety research and development bodies, the Shenyang Research Institute of China Coal Technology & Engineering Group (CCTEG), has signed a $1 million deal to use the Advanced Visualisation and Interaction Environment (AVIE) technology developed by the University of New South Wales' iCinema Centre in a new training facility.
iCinema Director Dennis Del Favero, an ARC Australian Professorial Fellow in UNSW's College of Fine Arts (COFA) and Faculty of Engineering, said this was the first sale of AVIE technology into China. In the past three years the Australian mining industry has installed the sophisticated technology at four Australian sites as part of a $6.1 million commercialisation, along with 13 smaller simulators from iCinema's Advanced Safety Training Simulators (iCASTS) system.
These have been used to teach mine workers how to survive life-threatening workplace hazards and have led to worldwide interest, with China the first completed installation outside of Australia.
The Australian technology, which has been licensed exclusively to Immersive Realisation Pty Ltd by UNSW for worldwide sales, will now be the centrepiece of a development and demonstration facility with the potential to deliver enormous safety benefits to China's mining industry.
The centre located at the Shunhua Energy Institute, in the city of Fushun in China's Liaoning Province, will be completed in June, at the same time as the AVIE virtual reality technology makes a theatrical debut for the Sydney Film Festival in the cinematic artwork, Scenario.
Australian Research Council CEO Professor Margaret Sheil, said: "The international commercialisation of such technologies, demonstrates the significant social and economic benefits that can be derived from groundbreaking Australian artistic research".
The Shunhua Energy Institute installation is the first in a potential series of centres across China, with further sales expected under a distribution agreement between Immersive Realisation and the Shenyang Research Institute of CCTEG.
iCinema technology was behind a cutting-edge Museum Victoria exhibition which won an American Association of Museums Gold MUSE Award.
Museum Victoria received the award for an interactive, 360-degree 3D volcano exhibit, Rio Tinto Volcanic 3D in AVIE by iCinema UNSW.