Virtual reality for students from Hawker

Hawker school students got to experience the ANSTO reactor through virtual reality.
Three school children wear virtual reality helmets in front of an ANSTO display.

Hawker Area School students ‘reach out’ during the ANSTO experience.

A glimpse into the workings of Australia’s Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) allowed students to experience another place and time.

On Friday 2 August, representatives from ANSTO and our department came to town as part of the Hawker VR Open Day.

The Hawker Area School was buzzing with energy as kids (and kids-at-heart) donned the headsets for a look at cutting-edge science.

The experience provided full access to the OPAL multipurpose reactor. For obvious security reasons, few people have the opportunity to see the real OPAL up-close. But with the technology that was on show (and through a free VR app), you can peek into Australia’s only nuclear reactor.

Rod Dowler from ANSTO conducted the presentation. He introduced their facility and set a number of hands on challenges that covered a range of scientific principles. Rod is a natural presenter who makes science a lot of fun. It was no wonder that Channel 7 was keen to get him on camera for a story they ran on the event.

Margaret-Rose McKenzie, who is hosting the equipment back at the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility  office, was thrilled to see all the action and excitement.

“It‘s really amazing to watch people use VR for the first time.

“As soon as they put on the headset they are immediately in another world, and it’s great to watch the way they moved through the space. If they could see themselves it would be hilarious!”

More than 30 students and adults were there on the day to take advantage of ANSTO’s exciting session.

For those that didn’t make it, ANSTO has the VR app available on Apple's App Store and Google Play.

The updated version even features an excellent new experience as part of the International Year of the Periodic Table.

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