Uncover STEM concepts with The Cube’s new digital simulations

When we look at the world around us we see simple systems, the water ripples in the bathtub or a dog’s ears flapping as they hang out of the window of a moving car. We learn these effects as children and hardly notice them as we grow older. Behind these everyday occurrences lie an incredibly complex system of cause and effect that even today with supercomputers the size of football fields, we cannot simulate with 100% accuracy.

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Putting the fun back into physics!

On Saturday 7 January, 4,200 visitors flocked to The Cube for an extra dose of physics fun to celebrate the opening of the Physics Observatory Summer Holiday Program.

We presented a range of Physics-inspired workshops including Hula Hooping by Vulcana Women’s Circus, live science shows by Street Science, a 3D flight simulator game facilitated by the QUT STEM for Schools team and Physics 101 workshops from QUT Physics Society. The live science shows by QUT Alumni Steve Liddell were a massive hit! Kids were amazed by Steve’s science experiments including exploding balloons with liquid nitrogen and a real hand-held fireball.


Activities from Physics Observatory Holiday Program also ran throughout the day including Physics Wiz Treasure Hunt which allowed families to discover hidden elements of the Holiday Program. Kids were also awarded a ‘Physics Wiz’ sticker! Other activities included Ball Run, which encouraged kids to compare how far and fast balls can travel using tubes and everyday materials on a magnetic wall. Take to the Sky was another popular (paper plane making) activity, which got kids thinking about gravitational forces and how fast and far their planes could fly.

Holiday fun at The Cube

We also announced the winners of the ‘Life on Mars’ Competition. Kids were asked to draw what they imagined life on Mars might look like incorporating what they know about STEM. Banjo Seaniger (8 years) won an Xbox One and Runners up Shaun Gareth (13 years) and Mikayla Daley (12 years) won admission to one of The Cube’s 2017 holiday programs.


Thanks for everyone who joined us for Physics Fun Day and for those who couldn’t make it Physics Observatory Holiday Program continues everyday 10am-4pm until Sunday 15 January. Check out this video for a taste of the program.


Hello and welcome, Lauren McCarthy

Hi! I am an artist from New York, in residence for the next two months at The Cube. My practice involves looking at our social interactions, the rules and expectations that govern them, and the effects of technology. I have always been a pretty socially awkward person, and my projects are often attempts to hack my way to better relationships.

A few years ago, I went on a series of dates with people I met on an online dating site and crowdsourced my dating life by paying workers online to watch a video stream of the dates and tell me what to say and do. (Social Turkers, 2013, http://socialturkers.com)


Thinking about algorithmic enhancement of relationships, together with Kyle McDonald, we made a Google Hangout app that would monitor your speech and facial expression and provide real-time prompts to “enhance” the conversation. (us+, 2014, http://lauren-mccarthy.com/us)


Most recently, I created an Uber-like app and service where you could hire a stranger (I was actually the Follower) to follow you for one day . I’d tail the person based on their GPS data, keeping just out of sight but within their consciousness, leaving them at the end with just one photo from sometime during the day. (Follower, 2016, http://lauren-mccarthy.com/follower)


For this residency, I am focusing on the idea of the Smart Home and Internet of Things, and all of the promises these offer. I am going to turn the Cube into a smart home for QUT students and community, gathering data through its many sensors, and interacting with the people in the space through ambient instructions on the walls. The point is to question and critique the idea of a surveillant space that guides you mindlessly, while also exploring more interesting possibilities.


Often the idea of a smart space or AI is represented by thermostats that adjust themselves and either the complete lack of any human feeling, or a sci-fi fantasy female character.


I’m planning to dig deeper into the process of socialisation. Who are the human authority figures that teach us how to behave and relate to others. Maybe it is your mum or dad, an older sibling, teacher, or friend, or role model. How do these people watch over us and influence us. Could this social intelligence be captured and embodied in an artificial intelligence?

These are some of the questions I aim to explore with this project. I’ll be starting research with a series of interviews and workshops open to the public. Stay tuned for more details if you’d like to participate!


Happy 3rd Birthday

It’s our 3rd birthday and as with most birthdays, it got some of our staff thinking about the year that was. This week we’ll hear from Cube Studio Manager Sean Druitt about some of the team’s highlights from 2015.

–  The Cube team created and released The Arcade and Plasma Wall projects which are now in rotation with other Cube screening projects


–  The Cube team supported two artisit-in-residency projects. Cryptext and Nomemcluster by Jason Nelson which was were part of the Australian Council for the Arts digital writing residency. And the Ars Electronica TRANSMIT³ Resident presented The Society for Cultural Optimism

–  The team collaborated and implemented the Soul of The Cube project with ARS Electronica. This projects enables us to do a graceful transition between our projects, and while this transition is occurring, show the “Soul”. The soul is an artistic representation of data available from the Science and Engineering Centre (which houses The Cube)


–  The team created the Dino Zoo project which was launched to the public in January 2016. This project was a large undertaking in collaboration with Dr. Scott Hocknull from the Queensland Museum and ViseR from the Institute for Future Environments. In addition to the project content released on The Cube, the floor space in the Screen 1 space was upgraded with motion sensors which tell the Dinosaurs where the public are which allows for more interactivity


–  Thousands of people gathered in August for QUT’s Robotronica festival. This free event is a celebration of innovation and an opportunity for people to glimpse the possibilities of the future. Stay posted about the next Robotronica in 2017


So as you can see we were super busy in 2015 working on many projects… and this is what you can expect from us in 2016!

–  The next screens project, Water Wheels. This project allows users to solve puzzles to manage and capture the utilisation of water.  This should be completed and released in mid-2016

–  One of our existing projects, Physics Playroom, will be given a facelift. This flagship project will be upgraded to utilise some of our newest systems and it’ll be refreshed with some new content for people to learn and enjoy

–  The next TRANSMIT³ Resident (soon to be announced) will begin mid-year

– The next big screen project! Half way through the year we will begin working on this. We can’t give away anymore secrets at the moment but hopefully we’ll have another update later in the year

And stay tuned for more highlights from our Public Programs staff next week.


The Cube is turning 2!

This Saturday 28 February, The Cube will celebrate its 2nd birthday! To mark the occasion, we want to share some of our favourite Cube memories, looking back over the last two years in pictures…

The development and construction of The Cube is a unique technical feat that took QUT developers more than two years to complete. One of the world’s largest interactive digital display systems, The Cube stands at two storeys high, and houses a whopping 170m2 of high-definition screens including 48 touch panels, which integrate with 14 high-definition projectors to reach a massive 115-megapixel resolution. Construction began in 2010.


In the lead up to The Cube’s opening, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak came to visit our Cubans! Here’s a pic from Wozniak’s 2012 visit – you can see the progress of Virtual Reef in the background!

2012 QUT Steve Wozniak 157

In February 2013, our then Prime Minister Julia Gillard officially opened the SEC, home to The Cube. While here, Gillard tried her hand at some LEGO Education.

SEC Building Opening by Prime Minister Julia GillardSEC Building Opening by Prime Minister Julia Gillard

Robotronica in August 2013 was a big moment for our young Cube as it welcomed hundreds of STEM enthusiasts for an epic robotics spectacular featuring hands-on workshops, demonstrations, talks, debates, films, music and performances.


In just 2 years, The Cube’s public program team has delivered over 315 engagement programs, attracting over 11,320 participants. We hope that The Cube will continue to engage and inspire generations of thinkers and doers to come!