Deakin University (Aust) was looking to renovate part of its Geelong Waurn Ponds campus recently, extending an already existing building to form a new innovative learning space for its Faculty of Arts and Education. The key part of this unique and immersive new space, called Deakin Immersive, involved state of the art Epson projectors installed by Igloo Vision, the Shared VR company.
James Sheridan, Igloo Vision’s Head of Business Asia Pacific, explained, “It was important for the new precinct to be an experience in and of itself, to wow anyone who comes in. The university wanted to incorporate immersive technology into the precinct and also wanted groups to be able to share those immersive experiences. So Igloo Shared VR using Epson projectors in an immersive projection cylinder was the ideal solution.”
Deakin Uni wanted to create a showpiece. This involved not just Igloo Vision’s immersive cylinder, but also the building of a round “Think Tank” and a semi-circular editing suite, for creating content.
Sheridan continued, “The uni wanted students to be able to move seamlessly between the contexts of an immersive experience into the Think Tank to analyse that experience. The system and projectors needed to be high-quality and high-specification, with a range of easy-to-use software and easy workflows for content creation. They also wanted to be able to use the system for remote learning and seminars.”
The project team specified a 9.7-metre diameter Igloo cylinder that could accommodate groups of around 35 people at a time with cinema-grade audio and an acoustically transparent screen, ensuring crystal clear sound alongside crystal clear imagery. Deakin Immersive as a whole uses seven Epson EB-L1065UNL laser projectors with ELPLX01 ultra-short-throw lenses.
Sheridan explained the specific choice of Epson projectors and lenses by adding, “Deakin wanted a high-end, high-quality installation. The Epson laser projectors help to create a seamless 360° display for an incredibly immersive experience. Using ultra-short-throw lenses reduces the amount of shadowing caused by anyone near the screen, adding to the immersion. They also offer super-bright, super-sharp imagery, with super-clear colours. Using laser projectors also means that maintenance is reduced as with lamp projectors need their bulbs replacing every 2000 hours or so.”
According to Sheridan and just as importantly, Epson doesn’t only build great equipment but is also great at supporting its partners. “We know we can rely on Epson to get us any technical support we might need and that will be there for the life of the project. Deakin University, like most Australian universities, already has a great relationship with Epson and is using many of its products, so it was a natural choice.”
It’s not hard to see the amount of effort and ingenuity that’s gone into creating Deakin Immersive as Sheridan continued, “The quality of the images has been commented upon in a very positive way by many people. It’s very high-quality, not grainy and very high-definition so this, alongside the high-quality sounds, creates an immersive experience that can really transport groups. All this combines to create a ‘sense of theatre’ in the space. The overall quality of the technology adds to the wow factor.”
Deakin Immersive will be used across many of the 900 courses run by the Faculty of Arts and Education, as well as by other faculties and it has already been used to ‘transport’ groups using Google Street View.
Sheridan explained, “A 360° video transported students to the Colosseum in Rome using Google Street View in 360°. The topic discussed was ‘what sort of civilisation would have a Colosseum?’ Then, using Google Street View once more, the students could travel to the centre of a football pitch to try and understand what a Roman at the centre of the Colosseum might have felt.”
It’s clear that the technology and its implementation at Deakin Immersive is unique in many ways as James Sheridan concluded, “What sets Deakin Immersive apart particularly by using Epson projectors is that they offer super-sharp and bright imagery, with clear colours, minimal shadowing all at an affordable price. Whilst there are a lot of short-throw projectors around, most of them don’t work for curved screens. The glass optics in the Epson lenses mean we still get great focus across the image even with the different focal planes. Apart from the technical capabilities, Epson has a great balance between cost and quality and its support is second to none. For Igloo Vision, the range of Epson projector options available means that we always have something to suit a client’s needs and again, we have peace of mind knowing we can rely on support from Epson.”