Did you know? The OptiPortal at Bio21

November 10 / 49

The OptiPortal is located at the Bio21 Institute, where it will remain until early next year.

Effectively an enormous television, the OptiPortal has a 96 megapixel display,( a standard television monitor has about 300,000 pixels,  an IMAX screen,10 million pixels)  which allows users to view several images simultaneously.  It is available for all staff and post- graduate students at the University.

The OptiPortal makes real-time communication with other researchers around the world possible, and allows users to view the same data simultaneously. Researchers can share large images, datasets and other multimedia content.

Visualisation Officer Bernard Meade (ITS Research Services) said the OptiPortal complemented Bio21's capabilities by providing a broad research community with access to state-of the-art equipment and expertise that underpinned collaborative research. 

With the OptiPortal, colleagues around the world can be brought together via FullHD video conferencing.  The result is a cost-effective means of greatly enhancing remote collaboration.

"The Optiportal provides us with a way of displaying extremely high resolution images such as you might get from a high-end digital camera or medical imaging equipment, in native resolution. It’s far more intuitive to visualise several of these high-resolution images simultaneously side-by-side, such that you are seeing your entire dataset at once, making it easier to draw conclusions from your data,” he explained. 

"The ability to instantly send an image of interest to a remote colleague’s OptiPortal, while chatting in a full HD video conference, provides far better collaboration than traditional means, save boarding an aeroplane."


The Bio21 Institute team have been working with the Research Services team to facilitate various opportunities that showcase the technology. 

Helen Varnavas, Bio21 Institute’s Communications and PR Manager said in recent weeks, the OptiPortal has generated a lot of interest from researchers within Bio21 and the broader scientific community about its capability and potential use.


Recently it has been used in collaboration between the University and the California Institute of Technology and Telecommunications (CALIT2) to look at bushfires in California and Victoria.

Fire specialists, researchers and fire fighters discussed the use of a distributed network of cameras in the national parks in California for early detection and management of fire events.

The OptiPortal was used to link the participants who presented stop motion footage from a series of these cameras, along with detailed maps of the terrain and the network of cameras. 

Mr Meade said researchers at the University found it very useful to be able to see not only the maps and camera layout diagrams, but also the footage caught by those cameras, all displayed at full resolution along side the presenters in California.

The Bio21 Institute is hosting an OptiPortal Information Session for University staff and postgraduate students on Friday 26 November from 1:00pm-2:00pm to raise awareness of what technology capability the University has available to researchers. Further information:  www.bio21.org, 8344 2220 or http://www.bio21.org/events-and-seminars/seminars/what-is-the-optiportal.

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