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Virtual reality surfing a winner at Opmantek Industry Awards

By Daniel Carter

Enabling surfing coaches and their trainees to use virtual reality (VR) to overcome traditional obstacles in the sports’ training environment has won a team Griffith Sciences students top gong at the Opmantek Industry Awards.

The awards recognise industry collaboration, and each nominated project worked with real clients – in this case Surfing Australia’s High Performance Centre and Griffith’s Ideas Lab.

VR Wave team members Jake Ballard, Matthew Faust, Francesco Mennella, Mauro Oliveri, Dominic Rochin and Christopher Wood, who study computer science and information technology at Griffith, were commended on their achievement and innovative thinking.

“Our team was tasked with overcoming two problems surfing coaches face – unpredictable surf conditions and the limitations of traditional coaching methods,” said Dominic.

“To overcome these problems, the project goal was to create a virtual reality wave-selection tool aimed at improving wave identification and selection skills of surfers.”

Wave selection is key, as it has a significant impact on the score surfers can expect during competition. Traditional coaching methods do not allow for instant feedback (as the surfer is in the water) which can limit the useability and translation of feedback into improved performance.

To solve this problem, the VR Wave team created a virtual reality surfing simulation that enables better coaching communication to improve the surfers’ wave selection.

The team of six was awarded $2500 for their win.

The judging panel for the awards included Opmantek President and Chairman Danny Maher, Gold Coast Innovation Hub CEO Sharon Hunneybell, Australia Computer Society Queensland Branch Executive Committee Member Sharon Singh and Griffith’s Head of the School of Information and Communication Technology Professor Paulo de Souza.

“It is so good to see the talent of all the students flourishing when they go and work with industry, working on practical projects exactly as they would in the workforce,” said Professor de Souza.

Professor de Souza also thanked the award sponsor, Opmantek.

The Opmantek Industry Awards is hosted by Griffith, in collaboration with Opmantek. Opmantek is a multi-award-winning software company operating in the field of intelligent network management and IT audit software.

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