Original Published Date: 
Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Full Article issued by UNSW Sydney.

An immersive visualisation platform that virtually recreates the experience of being in a wildfire will help artists, designers, firefighters and scientists better understand and communicate the dynamics of these extreme events.

iFire, based at the iCinema Centre for Interactive Cinema Research at UNSW Sydney, is a sector-first Artificially Intelligent (AI) immersive environment that visualises the unpredictable behaviour of wildfires. It gives users and researchers a visceral understanding of the dynamics of wildfires, at 1:1 scale and in real time, within a safe virtual environment.

The five-year project is funded by the ARC Laureate Fellowship of lead researcher Scientia Professor Dennis Del Favero, Director of the iCinema Research Centre, UNSW Arts, Design & Architecture. The philosopher-turned-artist uses artistic simulation to sensorially explore diverse risk-laden scenarios, directly addressing issues like global warming in visceral and compelling ways. 

“Wildfires are a whole new generation of fires,” says Prof. Del Favero. “We’re experiencing accelerating levels of global warming which are leading to fires of a scale, speed and violence never before seen in recorded human history.”

“It uses real-world data to visualise not only what they look like, but also what they feel [and sound] like. Sound is very important … [because] wildfires have a particular acoustic that is entirely unique.”

Photo credit: 

An AI-driven immersive visualisation suite that recreates the experience of being in a wildfire will transform how we understand, respond to and prepare for the phenomenon. Image: Supplied