Newcastle College has unveiled an interactive four metre wide Powerwall – the first of its kind within the UK’s education sector – to revolutionise the student learning experience.
Developed by Animmersion UK in partnership with ArtAV Limited, the versatile 240hz LED screen enables students and staff to collaborate by developing new ways of working.
Loaded with software, examples and templates for multiple disciplines and experience levels, the ultra-high-definition 3D Powerwall is used by students from a variety of departments including engineering, digital, healthcare and the arts.
Based on innovative mini-LED and tracking technologies, one of its most exciting and far-reaching applications is in the field of photography, film, and live events.
The Powerwall, which delivers exceptional image quality, can be configured as a high fidelity extended reality (XR) studio, allowing photographers and filmmakers to create virtual backdrops, based on photography or CGI – previously something that only major movie studios could afford to access.
Meanwhile, engineering and design students can visualise and manipulate computer-aided design data for review at real world scale, allowing designers to interact and make shared decisions. It also enables two users to see two different views in 3D which is rendered in real time.
One innovative application involves aviation students using the Powerwall to move around and look into a 3D airstrip, while the hand tracking features allows them to signal an aircraft and guide it into a parked position. For advanced students, the training scenarios can be made more complex.
This training is provided with all its development files which allows the College to extend it through cross faculty collaboration with the computing and digital arts faculties.
The Powerwall was installed as part of a £2 million investment into leading-edge STEM facilities for degree students at Newcastle College University Centre, following a funding award from the Office for Students (OfS).
Jon Ridley, Deputy Principal and Executive Lead for HE at Newcastle College, said: “Newcastle College is committed to working in partnership with industry leaders like Animmersion to provide our students with the opportunity to study in world-class facilities, using industry standard equipment and technologies.
“Newcastle College University Centre graduates are the workforce of the future, and our vision is to develop their skills and talents to help them succeed and make a positive contribution to the prosperity of our region.
“The Powerwall gives our students from a wide range of disciplines the chance to get their hands on advanced, innovative technology that will be used in the jobs of today and the future. We are developing a talented workforce that SMEs and big business will really benefit from.”
Samuel Harrison, managing director of Middlesbrough-based Animmersion UK, said: “Working in partnership with ArtAV, we are proud to have developed this innovative technology, which is the first of its kind in the UK and the education sector.
“Having taken this technology to the next level, it will both transform and enhance the learning environment, creating a collaborative space where students can enjoy total immersion.”
ArtAV, headquartered in Stockton-on-Tees, provided the hardware for the project, and has previously worked on several high-profile live performance and art installations, including a new installation for the annual Tate Britain Commission.