Bringing the country to the city through a celebration of agriculture at this years 2018 Ekka show offered several showcases the whole family could take part in. The event was complete with the usual assortment of entertainment, shows, live music and an abundance of food. The event posed the perfect opportunity for the people of Brisbane to really get a feel for a virtual experience.
Pioneered by Advance Queensland and several local virtual reality firms around Queensland, the booth set up at the Ekka show was one dedicated to emerging technologies. Understanding the desperate need for highly skilled professionals within the technology sector, Advance Queensland is dedicated to helping children developing the skills necessary to become future technology leaders.
In order to do this, they wanted to created a fun, family friendly environment where kids could learn more about virtual reality and have a few experiences of their own. Immerse Enterprise was invited to showcase where virtual reality fits into the framework of local businesses and organisations.
With children being the main focus of these experiences, a light mobile application developed alongside the Queensland Reconstruction authority. Known as the QLDRA Kids Go, the app was showcased to not only demonstrate the capabilities of virtual reality through smart phone headsets but also as a means to educate children on the dangers of flooding and preparing for emergency situations.
During 2011-12, severe floods devastated large portions of Brisbane suburbs as well as the CBD. The scale of the disaster was immense, causing billions in damages and displacing hundreds of thousands of residents from their home over holiday period and into the New Year. As people scrambled to ensure that they had enough resources over the coming days, it was discovered that two products were severely understocked and soon became scarce given the accessibility of main roads into the flooded residential areas throughout the city. These two items were bread and milk, two items which are highly perishable.
Following the aftermath, it became apparent that our communities ability to prepare for a disaster of this magnitude was not sufficient and as a result, further education into disaster planning was recommended.
With children being the future leaders of our city, the experience was designed to take them through an exercise in preparing for a large scale flood. The objectives of the app was to help them understand which resources would be the most useful in times where floods and power outages would wreak havoc on the surrounding infrastructure.
Running against a clock, children were transported into a virtual shopping center where they would run along the shelves with a shopping trolley and stock the most important items during the emergency.
Both parents and children alike could take part in the experience, stocking up to 10 items in their trolley with the goal to beat the timer. The app was designed to be light, easy and fun for children while also teaching them how to best prepare for a citywide flood.
By being part of the Ekka festival and having both the Advanced Queensland and the Queensland reconstruction authority booth showcasing at the event, the potential virtual reality has in terms of education and disaster awareness was successfully demonstrated.