Thursday, 21 March 2013 23:32

Conroy, the robot, the NBN and the virtual tour

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A robot conducted an interactive virtual tour around the National Museum’s Landmark Gallery at the launch of the CSIRO’s Robot Project today, with the Australian Academic Research Network (AARNet) and the National Broadband Network (NBN) delivering the tour over high speed broadband by connecting the robot to the students at remote sites.

Led by an educator, the robot took students at the participating sites on an interactive virtual tour around the gallery, with its mobile Telepresence technology enabling real-time interaction between the students, the National Museum educator and an expert at the Melbourne Museum.

A 360 degree panoramic camera allowed students to interact with the exhibits independently.

And, in a day when the Labor Party worked its way through a leadership spill and the eventual re-election of Prime Minster Gillard as Leader and Wayne Swan as her Deputy, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, was on hand to help launch the robot project.

Senator Conroy acknowledged AARNet’s contribution to the project, as the provider of R&E connections at the National Museum and the Melbourne Museum, and the service provider for the NBN at the Cathedral School in Townsville. All these three sites participated in the launch event.

“This research project signposts the emergence of a technology that, in the near future, will be more intelligent, more agile and more common place across all aspects of our lives,” said AARNet CEO Chris Hancock.

The Museum Robot has been developed by CSIRO in partnership with the NMA, with the technology enabling personalised access to museums and cultural institutions across Australia over high speed broadband connections.

The robot outputs a data stream of 10 megabits per second to each of up to15 participants in a session.

Dr Ian Oppermann, Director of CSIRO’s Digital Productivity and Services Flagship, said any school connected by high speed broadband or the NBN could take advantage of the robot.

“AARNet continues to support innovate technology projects that provide new and dynamics ways for students to be at the helm of their own learning. Projects like this also provide the research and education network with an opportunity to model and understand network performance dynamics required to scale up projects of this nature.

Hancock said it was the quality and performance of the end-to-end-to-network that defined the user experience.

“The demonstration today illustrates that the distribution of interactive, real time and visually rich experiences across Australia’s research and education network to NBN fibre connected schools ensures the quality of the classroom experience.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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