New data arena allows display of 'big data' Thursday, 06 August 2015

The University of Technology Sydney has opened a new Data Arena which will allow users to view and interact with data in new ways.

Viewers stand in the middle of a large cylindrical screen, four metres high and ten metres in diameter. A high performance computer graphics system drives six 3D-stereo video projectors, edge-blended to create a three-dimensional panorama with image resolution 20,000 x 1200 pixels. A stereo-visual effect can be achieved by wearing Active-Shutter Glasses, which present separate left/right views.

The immersive facility will help researchers as well as business and government to simplify complex information.

UTS Vice-Chancellor Professor Attila Brungs described it as breaking ground both in terms of data visualisation, manipulation and comprehension, and in fundamental human computer/data interaction

“UTS is crossing traditional boundaries of knowledge by harnessing new technologies such as the Data Arena. The technology is so new even we don’t know what the limits of its potential may be, whether for research, adding new knowledge to what we teach or how we can work in new ways with industry,” he said.

“It’s a bit like inventing a microscope, looking into it for the first time and realising tiny life forms exist in a drop of water. Each time researchers and industry partners first experience the Data Arena’s capabilities; new ideas are born about how this new way of seeing the world can give our research maximum impact.”

Professor Mary-Anne Williams is director of UTS’s Innovation and Enterprise Research Laboratory, also known as The Magic Lab. She will discuss the Data Arena at the ACI Connect Conference next week in Sydney.

Her talk ‘Fast-Tracking the Future with Advanced Robotics and Data Analytics’ will cover how robots work side-by-side humans in factories, unload containers from ships, perform delicate surgery on people, drive cars, rescue people in dangerous situations, and enrich the life of autistic children, as well as looking at how data analytics allow robots to comprehend and exploit sensory data, find patterns and insights to leverage, and to plan by making predictions.

The ACI Connect conference is at Sydney Olympic Park on August 12-13. More information can be found at


UTS's Ben Simons in the Data Arena with Toby Grime from animators Animal Logic

Photo: Joanne Saad