Gamers get an earful from Murdoch computer programmers

August 21, 2012

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An online video game created by Murdoch University’s School of Information Technology will help young people educate and protect themselves against the dangers of noise-induced hearing loss.

Epic Ear Defence, which sees players do battle with waves of sound enemies in a virtual ear canal, is the work of lecturer Shri Rai and students Peter Riggs, Jonothan Tennant, Tyler Munro and Bach Nguyen – all four of whom have graduated with double majors in Computer Science and Games Technology.

The initiative is part of Hearing Awareness Week and has been developed by Perth’s Ear Science Institute Australia (ESIA) with a $5000 community grant from Chevron.

“One of my students, Peter Riggs, was working on a casual basis at ESIA. He heard they were interested in developing a game to educate young people on noise-induced hearing loss and I suggested we set it up as a Games Technology project,” Mr Rai said.

“We put together a team and came up with the concept for Epic Ear Defence after a number of design iterations. The project is one of many that the School of Information Technology is helping create, and certainly put our students’ skills to the test.”

Mr Rai said Epic Ear Defence’s success has led to plans for future joint projects between Murdoch and ESIA as well as the company employing Tyler Munro.

ESIA Director Professor Marcus Atlas added that the project was a great example of unique work being done by his team and organisations such as Murdoch. He stressed its importance in reaching young people.

“Hearing loss is one of the most common disabilities, costing the Australian economy over $20 billion a year. Once hearing is damaged, it’s gone for good, but noise-induced hearing loss is eminently preventable,” Professor Atlas said.

“Listening to loud music at maximum volume on a device like an iPod or similar devices can cause irreversible hearing damage in less than four minutes, and it’s so important to teach kids about how to protect their hearing.”

The free game can be downloaded from ESIA’s Cheers for Ears website.

Comments (One response)

Katie Scott August 21, 2012

What a fantastic application of our talent, knowledge and skills! Totally inspiring, well done to all involved :)

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