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Software development students go DEEP into an artificial intelligence


The Digital Tower at Yagan Square has come alive with an underwater seascape inhabited by tropical fish, aquatic mammals and other sea creatures, thanks to an artificial intelligence project created by a group of North Metropolitan TAFE students.

  • Through a partnership with the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA) and ScreenWest, six Diploma of Software Development students were tasked by their lecturer, to create the first interactive display for the Tower at Yagan Square.
  • Students were provided with a client brief before spending three months working on Unity, the world’s leading real-time engine (used to create half of the world’s games) to build “the marine screen” ready for live testing.
  • “The marine screen” features a real-time day and night cycle, including weather effects that dynamically synchronise with Perth’s atmospheric conditions. An information panel displays Perth’s time, temperature, wind speed and direction.

Yagan Square and Screenwest engaged North Metro TAFE students earlier in the year to help them bring the tower alive.

Yagan Square Manager Caryn Earnshaw said it’s been great working with the students and using the tower as a platform to give them experience in the real world. “This piece contains every single interactive element we’ve wanted for the tower for so long now - it’s amazing what they’ve done.”Yagan Sq Ocean.jpg

Screenwest Content Programmer/Producer Alana Swift worked closely with the students and their lecturer to refine the tower’s first piece of interactive content. “When we went to testing, I was very impressed at the quality of the work.”

Software development students Dave Todd from Edgewater and Brett Jones from Redcliffe embraced the opportunity to work on the Yagan Square project as part of their TAFE studies.

“When our lecturer told us there was a 45 metre tower in the middle of Northbridge and they wanted to put our software on it for all of Perth to see, we were beside ourselves,” said Dave.

Brett worked on the display’s sky and weather integration. “If it’s cloudy outside, the ocean will appear cloudy and if Perth’s wind speed is up, the fish and seaweed will move more rapidly,” he said. 

“I’m so happy with the end result. It’s definitely the best project I’ve ever worked on and it’s so cool that our hard work is up in lights for the whole of Perth to enjoy.”

About the Digital Tower
The 45 metre high Digital Tower includes a large circular screen and 14 reeds, representing the 14 Noongar language groups. The giant screen displays everything from abstract graphics, to visual artworks, live-streamed events and community pieces.

Page last updated November 29, 2018