Providing world-class holographic education
Did you know the world’s largest hologram producer can be found right here in Australia? Meet the Aussie innovator harnessing holographics for work, play, and learning.
The future of technology
About five years ago, Bruce Dell was looking for the next big breakthrough in technology.
Virtual reality (VR) was supposed to be the future. But Bruce was alarmed by statistics showing most VR helmet owners stopped buying games after three months. And business executives showed little enthusiasm for it.
“So we thought, why don’t we jump over to the next technology?” he remembers.
That next technology was holographics.
Bruce is now the CEO of Brisbane’s Euclideon Holographics. Bruce says Euclideon is the largest hologram producer in the world. The company supplies governments, airports and businesses with equipment, including Euclideon’s patented Hologram Tables and Hologram Walls. Euclideon is also opening hologram entertainment centres and escape rooms around the world.
Education is also a piece of the Euclideon puzzle.
Taking a 360 on learning
Bruce says that, while many people recognise a hologram when they see one, most have trouble putting their finger on what it actually is.
“A hologram is like the next step up from 3D,” Bruce says. “If something is digital, and you can move around it and see it from all sides, it’s a hologram.”
Holograms use laser light to create images that appear solid. This 360-degree view opens up new opportunities for learning and research.
Bruce says educators can use Euclideon’s Hologram Tables to explore areas that were previously inaccessible due to location or cost. For example, a drone scan of shipwreck hundreds of metres underwater can be turned into a hologram. Then students and faculty can explore the shipwreck up close from the comfort and safety of campus.
Perth’s Curtin University added a Euclideon Hologram Table to its Hub for Immersive Visualisation and eResearch (HIVE) in 2019. Researchers use it to study Mars, looking for evidence of life and mapping geographic surfaces for future rover landing locations.
In primary and high schools, Euclideon Hologram Walls give students the chance to “go inside” and explore foreign lands and buildings. The Walls can project objects up to one metre away from the wall, or give the appearance of turning the wall into a “window” that students can virtually walk in to.
Educating the next generation
Bruce says students can also learn how to create their own holograms using the technology. This can give them a leg up on many already in the workforce.
“Converting physical objects into digital versions is such a valuable skill in today’s world,” he says. “These students end up with ability that some of the most high-tech companies in the world don’t even have.”
There’s a science to learning
Dr. Jared Horvath, Director of LME Global and a world leader in educational neuroscience, has dedicated his life to studying what he calls “the science of learning.” He says simply adding technology to the classroom isn’t the right answer – and that doing so can cause more harm than good.
“Most digital technology isn’t geared toward human learning – it’s geared toward human engagement, which is completely different,” Horvath says.
“Learning and engagement have become conflated – people think adding technology will automatically improve education, and most research shows that’s not the case.”
Effective classroom technology
Horvath says there are two keys to making technology effective in the classroom. One is blending electronic capability with pedagogy – the systems that allow humans to learn from each other. The other is deploying tech that is isolated instead of open.
Isolated tech limits what users can do. Open tech allows users to do too much more, including surf the internet, scroll social media and play games.
He says holographic technology might have a better chance of being successful than the augmented reality and virtual reality technology that preceded it because students have less experience with it.
“Holographic technology sounds like it’s going to be more isolated, which already puts us on a better footing than previous attempts,” he says.
“Now we’ve got to embed the pedagogy in it. It’s one thing to have the technology, it’s another to find the best way to help people learn.”
Award winning innovation
Bruce sees Australia becoming a technology superpower in the coming years, with Euclideon helping lead the way. The company took home second place at the 2019 Technology Olympics in Shenzhen, China. A few months later, Euclideon won the Yosemite Best Technology Award at the 2019 Silicon Valley Entrepreneurship and Innovation Forum.
“There’s something about the freedom we can work with in Australia that’s good for innovation,” he says.
“We can think bigger and try things our own way, and that is crucial to coming up with new ideas."
“So many companies admire other overseas companies and want to use their products, but I love that we make all of our own hardware and software,” he says.
He also says having an independent mindset and not always relying on the work of others can help the country’s innovators make more progress.