My Trip To Sydney’s Vivid Festival

Thanks to Intel, I was invited to see and experience the Vivid Sydney light festival.

Intel are the main sponsor of Vivid Sydney, and have been for the last 5 years. Not being from Sydney, I really didn’t know much about what Vivid even was (which was evident when I asked what time during the day I should be there for, when it’s a nighttime light event), I’m glad I found out about it.

Vivid’s slogan is ‘Lights, Music, Ideas’ which is rather accurate, but should also include ‘Technology’. Scattered around the Sydney CBD are dozens of things to see and experience – the Vivid website lists several.

Although structures like the Sydney Opera House and The University Of Sydney were incredibly impressive, I was sent across to see what Intel was doing behind the scenes to power it all, as well as checking out what cool things they had on display.


The first thing I saw was a demo of Intel’s RealSense technology, as shown by CNET Australia thanks to Claire Reilly. The technology uses three different cameras on your computing device for proper 3D imaging. Sheldon is involved somehow, so it must be good (also check that link for lots of cool things this technology can do). The tech demo could accept a few gestures, and showed a 3D rendering of the object placed in front of it (usually someone’s face). One of the highly useful implementations of this technology will be Windows 10 support for logging in, which can’t be fooled with a 2D photo of someone – this was a fundamental flaw in using a single camera to take a photo of someone’s face for a ‘secure login’.


After this demo, I got to fly a drone in ‘Game Of Drones‘. Disappointingly for me, the exhibit was going under a bit of work, which meant I had the joy of flying up or down. Hopefully others had a few more controls than this! Drones are of course fun, but Intel had linked them together and had them talking back to a centralised system (powered by Intel of course) which made sure they wouldn’t bump into each other. I was ready to take on @BeauGiles too, but alas our drones were never to meet.



A lot of what was happening behind the scenes at Vivid Sydney was powered by Intel, but you’d have no idea it was the case. One example I was told about, was that many of the boats in the harbour had been set up with an Intel Galileo board and a bunch of lights. The board was programmed to recognise where the boat was in the harbour, and change the light colour accordingly. A rather effective result from a simple little idea.

While being treated to VIP access ginger beers, a woman walked by who caught my eye. This was because she was wearing a rather fetching suit, that lit up when she breathed. Again, this was powered by an Intel chip of some sort – it was a bit rude to stare to try and work that out. But the robot woman (which is what I called her, unsure on how much was human vs robot) at least posed for a picture before crushing mankind:WP_20150528_19_14_57_Pro

It was a really fun event, which had so much effort put into it from behind the scenes. I can imagine the amount of hours put in from artists, technicians and all the other roles required to make such an event happen. Sydney, you’re a very lucky city for having it! Thanks again Intel for letting me experience Vivid Sydney.

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