QUT’s resident pop-culture roboticist Professor Michael Milford (Australian Centre for Robotic Vision) joined host Lee Constable for a quick-fire chat about maths in movies, as part of the Fast Five event at the 2018 Family Fun Day. Here’s a recap of their talk…
Everything old is new again and you can get your 80s fix with The Retro Arcade, which launches on 6 January 2018 at the Draw It. Code It. QUT Summer Holiday Program. Using the power of algorithms and Unity 3D software to immerses users in an 80’s style world, The Retro Arcade includes two new games, Mighty Pucks and Track Stars, and old favourites Block Breakers, Space Junk and Parabola Pirates.
As our world rapidly changes with the influence of technology touching every aspect of our lives, it’s vital that children are equipped with the necessary skills to navigate a dynamic and ever-evolving future. In Queensland, the Department of Education and Training’s #codingcounts initiative places great emphasis on coding and robotics technologies, introducing these learning areas into the curriculum to ensure all students have the opportunity and support to become digital creators and innovators of tomorrow.
This year’s FIRST® LEGO® League Tournament at QUT Gardens Point was a blast! 36 teams, coaches, and spectators arrived bright and early at The Cube on Saturday 18 November to take part in the annual robotics challenge for students aged 9–16 years.
This year’s HYDRO DYNAMICS theme delivered lots of learnings in relation to sourcing, transporting, and disposing of water. Students also applied their water solving skills to real-world problems in the Research Project Challenge eg. improving water fountains at their school or designing their own reusable watter bottle prototype. Read more
Code-A-Bot is The Cube’s new interactive digital game in which players program robot workers to collect and sort rubbish in a bid to create the most efficient virtual waste recycling plant at DERP (Department of Environmental Resource Processing) .
This is what a robot in Code-A-Bot looks like – small and cube-like – we call him robot.
For the past six months, the Cube Studio have been developing Code-A-Bot, a game ased around a fictional recycling facility run entirely by robots. Code-A-Bot will be launched and playable at QUT’s Robotronica on 20 August and afterwards will become a regular project rotating on The Cube screens.
Welcome to the DERP (Department of Environmental Resource Processing)
DERP has created an automated materials recovery facility, run exclusively by robots to sort waste into material categories for processing and recycling. Unfortunately, the code that runs the robots has bugs and is inefficient and we need your help!
Visitors to The Cube need to debug and recode the robots to boost the efficiency of the plant. Players will have access to a host of sensors and cameras to assist the selection of the waste and can fit different manipulators to move the waste around the facility and hopefully into the correct bins.
Leighann Ness Wilson reflects on one of The Cube’s STEAM for Schools programs ‘Prototyping towards an age friendly city: LittleBits’
A few weeks ago we met RoboDog: a robotic companion whose tail lights up and sends a signal for medical attention if it senses its owner is unwell. We also met the founders of ICU productions who make bionic eyes for the visually impaired and heard a design pitch for a tech-enabled water collection system.
These were just three responses to the question: How might we prototype for an Age Friendly City? This was posed to a group of year 5 students from the Sunshine Coast region during our STEAM for Schools workshop at The Cube.
“Empathy is about finding echoes of another person in yourself.” Mohsin Hamid
Here we are, the final Echo reverberates across The Cube in hybrid glitch form.
The photo booth is installed, the virtual mirror throbs in anticipation and the Echo character maps across the space. She navigates us, “Come closer” she says, you are now part of something bigger”.
The last month has seen many creative and technical developments, including the integration of the narratives. They began as fiction and ended as readymades. Real intimate stories from real people. Through the mirror our storytellers confide in you, the user, revealing moments of their lives where they have suffered or overcome hardship. As their narrative unfolds the features of your face slowly morph into their face. They operate you with their expressions and leave you placed firmly in their shoes. This intimate experience forces us to relate and connect with those outside of our normal social sphere. Narrative has long been a tool for empathy, awareness and social change, Echo intends to push this further still by immersing the viewer visually as well as through the imagination.
On Saturday 19 November, The Cube played host once again to FIRST® LEGO® League, welcoming 360 students and their team coaches, parents, teachers and peers to QUT’s Science and Engineering Centre. The energy and enthusiasm of the participants was palpable and just one of the reasons FIRST® LEGO® League is a highlight of the year, transforming the Science and Engineering Centre into a hive of activity!
This year’s challenge was based on the theme: ANIMAL ALLIES. Teams of up to 10 students researched, programmed, and prepared from August through November ‘to think of people and animals as allies in the quest to make life better for everyone’. The tournament involved:
- 360 students
- 220 parents, teachers, grandparents, peers, siblings …
- 108 (2.5 minute) robot game rounds
- 52 staff and volunteers
- 41 team coaches
- 36 teams from 22 locations (see team map below)
- 36 robots
- 12 award recipients
- 6 robot game tables
- 4 practice tables
- 4 concurrent activities (Robot Game, Robot Design, Project, Core Values)
- 4 national qualifiers
- And many LEGO pieces!
One of the team coaches, Jackie Child, captured the spirit of the tournament experience in her article, Our FIRST LEGO League Journey.
Twelve awards were presented this year to the following teams:
Champions Award – iCode 22
Robot Performance – OLA Cybermonkeys
Robot Design (Mechanical Design) – Robros
Robot Design (Programming) – RobotIGGS
Robot Design (Strategy and Innovation) – Lego Central
Project (Research) – MGH Robots 2
Project (Innovation) – iCode New Dawn
Project (Presentation) – Sharks
Core Values (Gracious Professionalism) – Lasiorhinus krefftii Mark II
Core Values (Teamwork) – Hillbrook Team 1
Core Values (Inspiration) – Omega Dragons
Judge Award – Padua College 1
Those selected for the Nationals at Macquarie University, Sydney, on 10 December, are:
- iCode 22
- iCode New Dawn
- Padua College 2
- OLA Cybermonkeys
Congratulations again to all participating teams – until next year!
Jacina Leong and Elise Wilkinson – Co–Directors, FIRST LEGO League, and Public Programs, The Cube
I recently went to the doctors, (nothing serious, just a check-up but thanks for asking), the doctor weighed me, he then read out a number and entered it into his computer. The number was 70. What does 70 mean? 70 what? Well kilograms apparently; but what does that mean? I know it’s the same as 70 bags of sugar, but what is the bag of sugar equal to? What does weight actually mean?
Weight, as we know it, could more accurately be called force, it is the force in which your body or mass is being pulled towards the scales by the gravity of the Earth (don’t try telling your wife it looks like she is putting on a little force, it’s still rude… apparently!). The number we call weight is the result of multiplying our mass by gravity, therefore, if we want our weight number to be less we can reduce our mass or the gravitational acceleration of the Earth, which is easier than you may think!
If I were in a plane flying at 35,000 feet, the gravitational effect of the Earth would be less and the scales I have strapped to my feet would show 69.72kg (yay, it’s working!). If I were to then jump from the plane the scales would read 0—this is because the scales are also falling and have nothing to press against to make a reading so I’d still weigh 70kg (boo!). But when I hit the ground my weight would shoot up to 428 kg for a very brief time then cease to be an issue.
If I wanted to lose a little weight I could just move to Denver, Colorado. In Denver, I would only weigh 69.92 kg however in Helsinki I would bust the scales at 70.13 kg. This is due to the irregular surface of the Earth; altitude, local topography and geology all play a part in how gravity affects us and our weight.
If mass and gravity are the factors we calculate weight by, what happens if we crank up the numbers? The Sun, with its huge mass, has a gravitational pull 28 times higher than Earth’s so if I were to stand on the surface of the sun, I would weigh nearly 2 tonnes (wow!). Although my gargantuan weight would be the least of my issues!!!
In the Physics Observatory, the new screen project at The Cube, users can adjust the gravity of the room with the gravity board. Visitors can slide the gravity changer all the way from 0g to the same gravity as the Sun. All of the objects in the observatory are affected by the gravity change, even the water flowing from the lion’s mouth and the swinging pendulum; it is lots of fun flinging hundreds of blocks around the room in 0g!
Come have fun with physics at the Physics Observatory. It’s officially opening on 17 September and there will be a physics-inspired holiday program in December/January Summer Holidays.