The name of UNSW’s new Expanded Perception and Interaction Centre – EPICentre – is apt. The technology behind it is huge and Finance’s Strategic Procurement team assisted in acquiring the specialised equipment and software.
EPICentre is a world-first pioneering, visualisation facility based at UNSW Art and Design in Paddington that will allow medical scientists to see disease and the body’s workings through clever imaging and projection technology. These images are projected onto a dome called ‘DomeLab’, and to an immersive and interactive panoramic 3D visualisation projection cylinder called ‘EPICylinder’.
DomeLab is a six metre diameter hemispheric dome projection system, designed to travel both nationally and internationally, which will provide a unique visual journey into the human body or cell structures. Similarly, EPICylinder, which is seven metres in diameter, will deliver another amazing sensory experience via its 340-degree panoramic projection, 33 speakers providing ambisonic sound and a screen resolution of 120 million pixels in 3D.
The centre is built on the expertise of UNSW’s Professor Sarah Kenderdine and her collaborators who conceived its interactive virtual environments. It will forge new territory in integrated artistic and scientific thinking to accelerate human understanding of complex datasets and ultra-scale imagery.
Finance’s Strategic Procurement team supported the project over 15 months, helping the EPICentre team, led by Art and Design’s Chief Scientist in Residence, Professor Robert Clark and Professor Paul Bourke, acquire and negotiate the contracts for this complex technology which has helped make this project a reality.
The total value of the contracts secured was just over $3.5 million and required negotiations that ensured all technological elements communicated with each other. Originally one company was sought to provide an affordable, technically viable solution, however this proved to be over budget as not one company could meet the state-of –the art specification sought. This resulted in the team renegotiating complex split project scopes with different providers, at the same time mitigating the risk associated with having varying types of equipment and software talking to each other.
The end result was Procurement securing contracts for the server hardware (Dell), system integration (Mechdyne), projection cubes (eyevis GmbH) and dome (project: syntropy GmbH). Ultimately these negotiations have provided a cutting-edge computing 3D and screen based experience, which will allow years of historic and new data to be visually available in a new and explosive way.
Strategic Procurement is proud to have been part of this landmark project which will not only be used by the University, but will also be available to the public via special exhibition spaces where people can engage with this new and ground breaking technology.
Treasury and Finance Business Performance also played a role by helping EPICentre to secure extra funding and providing a business case. Treasury secured a bank guarantee enabling them to lock in a price for the Eyevis unite and Finance Business Performance ensured the timely release and execution of the contract.
For more information about EPIC visit their website.