Curiouser and curiouser, visualising AI

Curiouser and curiouser, visualising AI

To celebrate National Science Week 2021 (14 – 22 August), our Visualising AI – Science Meets Street Art Co-Lab added another feather to its cap when it comes to creating accessible public spaces for people to understand, engage with and ask questions about transformative technologies.

In May, we partnered with Brisbane Street Art Festival 2021 to launch a globally unique urban art initiative that paired Queensland’s leading AI experts with up-and-coming street artists, resulting in the creation of four Visualising AI murals across Greater Brisbane (view all). In the process, raising community awareness and dispelling myths and misconceptions about a technology that, for most people, is hard to visualise.

During National Science Week, we joined forces with The University of Queensland’s Human-Centred Computing discipline, QLD XR Hub and Ardacious to supersize public interaction with one of the Visualising AI murals (located at Westfield Garden City), via an augmented reality (AR) activation.

Born from the novel pairing of The University of Queensland’s Professor Janet Wiles and artistic duo Scott Nagy & Krimsone, the 33.48m² mural imagines the moment a young roboticist meets her AI companion, Rockatoo. A social robotic bird inspired by Cape York Peninsula’s highly intelligent, but elusive palm cockatoo, renowned for its unique way of communicating through drumming.

On 21 August, we organised a FREE pop-up AR Photo Booth for visitors to Westfield Garden City to strike a pose with Rockatoo and find out more about the science behind the Visualising AI project.

An event designed to inspire and delight all ages. Importantly, also providing an opportunity for the public to meet the mural’s muse and real-life social roboticist, Professor Janet Wiles, alongside Dr Christina Zdenek, a biologist also based at The University of Queensland, whose field experience includes research on palm cockatoos.

We think the photos say it all!

And while National Science Week has finished for another year, Rockatoo remains a permanent AR fixture of the Visualising AI mural at Westfield Garden City. Check it out for yourself! It’s impossible to miss, spanning 33.48m² (think eight king size beds or 837 iPads rolled into one), framing the multi-level escalators near Kmart.

AI In Action | Accelerating Neurological Rehabilitation

AI In Action | Accelerating Neurological Rehabilitation

Case in point. Researchers at The University of Queensland are using AI – embodied in robotics and virtual reality (VR) – to better understand and accelerate neurological recovery after stroke.

“We have to think of AI not just as artificial intelligence, but rather as augmenting human intelligence,” says Dr Alejandro Melendez-Calderon, an expert in human augmentation technologies used in medicine (robotics and wearable devices).

His research focuses on use of robots, incorporating computer vision and AI, to detect small changes associated with neurological recovery that are difficult for humans to quantify.

“We want to augment human capabilities, through AI, by extending the ability of physical therapists to capture changes in recovery that are difficult to detect with current methods,” Dr Melendez-Calderon said.

“AI should not be viewed as taking people’s jobs. It’s a transformative technology that can complement and improve the way health professionals perform their current jobs.”

Similarly, his colleague, Dr Antonio Padilha Lanari Bo, credits AI as the enabler for VR to be introduced into clinical rehabilitation.

“AI has enabled the development of VR headsets so interaction with the virtual environment is done with your bare hands,” said Dr Bo. He is currently leading a research trial at Metro North Health in collaboration with Herston Biofabrication Institute and Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.

As Dr Bo explains, AI not only tracks hand and finger movements (without the need for sensors or controllers), but can adapt rehabilitation tasks in a virtual environment to best suit individual patients’ abilities and progress.

“It definitely means that rehabilitation will be accelerated, and patients may be able to achieve levels of recovery that were not possible before,” he said.

Special thanks to Drs. Alejandro Melendez-Calderon (pictured above) and Antonio Padilha Lanari Bo (pictured below) for visiting Queensland AI Hub to demonstrate AI in action to better understand and accelerate neurological rehabilitation.

Keen to find out more?

The ‘AI in Action’ research projects featured in this video fall under the Biomedical Engineering Group within The University of Queensland’s School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering.

About the Queensland AI Hub

Queensland AI Hub exists to cement Queensland’s status as a national and international leader in AI-enabled social, economic and workplace positive transformation. We do this by connecting Queensland’s AI ecosystem and championing the AI community, ensuring the widest collective of stakeholders (AI creators, investors, industry, government, communities) have the right skills and support to understand and implement AI at scale.