Experimentation applied into COVID-responsive solutions

Jul 06, 2021

Select initiatives Q1, 2020 to Q3, 2021

While TechLab team largely focuses on experimentation in emerging technology space, COVID created a sense of urgency to build digital and/or virtual experiences that replaced or supplemented in-person experiences in areas of learning, research and even student onboarding and support/allied services.

Not only did these need to be tactical (quick-fixes), but also adequately robust to be scalable with potential for continued use without significant investment of resources with technical know-how to support and maintain them.

In more simplistic, quick-builds, we started with applying our previously learned approaches in taking 360 images and videos and converting these to interactive virtual experiences. Key focus was also the AR, VR, MR, XR solutions to be accessible from any modern browser, to maintain equity across remote or onsite students.

In other cases, the builds ranged from complex 3D modelling of machinery for remote responsive use, multi-lingual platforms, Internet of Things (IoT) integrated tools for contactless health checks and more.

Platform / tool What is it? Who uses it? Link
vSydney Walkthrough of clubs and societies for student peer connection opportunities - this is a single source of truth for list of USU clubs, their contact and registration info and social media links. This also has a machine learning driven "smart search" for info Any student that USU markets this information to, usage peaks at start of semester vSydney - Clubs and Societies
Engineering labs 360-tour 360-degree tour with annotations -- of level 1-6 of Electrical Engineering facilities, rooms, labs in bulding J03 / PNR building Any engineering student using J03 facilities and labs - over 3500 users/semester Engineering labs virtual tour
OurSydney Virtual walkthrough of select highlight areas on our campus, covering aspects like space, place, history, activism, culture and community for building a sense of connectedness to the University for commencing FASS Students, with ability for students to create and share their own journeymap FASS1000 students, ~1500 a semester OurSydney for FASS1000
Wingara Mura-Bunga Barrabugu (WMBB) tour Hosting 100-125 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students from NSW in Years 11 and 12 each semester, this virtual tour is part of the flagship event for the Wingara Mura Bunga Barrabugu strategy, and gives students an opportunity to see the University of Sydney as their future university. This platform allows WMBB program coordinators to show some key spaces, resources and opportunities on campus to attract future students from indigenous communities and remote locations 100-125 WMBB future students per semester WMBB campus experience
ITAS platform Indigenous Tutor Assistance Scheme (DVC-ISS portfolio) - managed end-to-end from expression of interest from indigenous students of all faculties, data science driven algorithms to match them with suitable tutors, book and manage sessions, validate sessions, report concerns and a 'smart search' driven FAQ self-service knowledge base 300-400 students, 50-200 tutors per semester across all faculties ITAS portal
TechLab info share (Trend Report) ICT's digital innovation team knowledge sharing and reporting tool on metrics to leadership and any interested members of University community TechLab team, ICT and broader stakeholders TechLab Trend Report
TechLab Reporting Feeds into Trend report (https://trends.techlab.works/) - live data on how TechLab team members spend their time, who they engage with and relevant beneficiary and impact TechLab team, ICT leadership TechLab metrics reporting
Urban ecology online tour For Urban Ecology, Design and Planning - Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning: 360-degree media based tour that runs off of any modern browser or VR headset for students to explore terrains and parts of campus, replacing a completely large-group based in-person experience of 10-15km walk 150-200 students per semester in ARCH9080 Urban Ecology Virtual walk
Epic lab tour 360-degree images stitched together to allow for virtual induction into Engineering and Prototyping of Implants for Children Laboratory at Westmead Epic lab visitors (students, staff, affiliates) - variable Epic Lab induction
Cadigal Green site Interactive and immersive experience with learning elements and quizzes about our Darlington campus public domain now named Cadigal Green Educational designers - Faculty of Science Learning site -USYD Cadigal Green land
Komprenu MVP of Machine learning, data science, OCR and NLP incorporated indentity verification and online interview and review system with sentiment analysis to rate quality of a review based on basic subject knowledge and communication skill currently in trial use for Master of International Business test cases only Online interview and review system
Mind Your Head Brain and Mind Centre's research initiative for NSW Govt and Aus-China relations grant -- a multilingual smart web survey tool to track and provide support personalised resources for students from China in trial use by Brain and Mind Centre researchers and test cohorts of students BMRC international students' mental health check
Eta-Ki 3D Smart asset management system for breadth of multimedia for mixed or extended reality (MR, XR) and immersive content (360 images, 360 videos, 3D models etc.) MVP in progress to commence use Aug 2021 by Health Pathology XR Asset management library
TechLab issue reporting Users of TechLab's platforms and tools that are beyond prototype stage and in use report their tech issues or bugs here, integrated to our GitHub and Teams alerts any user of TechLab-built platforms - fewer users, the better! TechLab issue reporting

We don't have live links, but feel free to also ask us about these builds--

Solution, build Info, context
AR Frog - Melbourne Zoo Augmented Reality project of a Southern Corroboree Frog (listed on the IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered) that a user can project onto any surface and interact with, as part of a Melbourne Zoo initiative to build empathy with parents and children on conservation efforts
Extended Reality (XR) Training, simulations From food safety training, emergency response training in factory and bottling environments such as Lion Nathan (e.g., bottle breakage, gas leaks) and hard-to-mimic real life scenarios as immersive experiences
COVID eGate Temperature sensor IoT-integrated web app survey tool that allows contact tracing and COVID symptom checks at Sydney Children's Hospital. Proof of Concept for Sydney Children's hospital -- since Dec 2020, TechLab involvement closed and handed over
Research driven sensitivity training Staff empathy training to interact better with LGBTIQ staff and compliance with workplace policies -- as dynamic and responsive decision-trees based on various parameters such as words and body language in interactions ...AND... De-escalation of aggressive behaviour by workers in healthcare and for youth justice officers using Virtual Reality
Interactive 3D models of complex machines Virtual inductions, training and virtual responsive trials to use highly intricate, complex equipment or high-cost or sensitive machinery in chemistry, opthamology labs etc.
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