In support of its role as the National Gallery of Victoria’s Learning Partner for the NGV Triennial 2020, La Trobe University has launched Nuro, an online experience that helps users reach an open, curious mindset known as ‘relaxed alertness’ – the optimal state for learning.
Developed in partnership with Clemenger BBDO Melbourne and La Trobe academics with extensive research in education, psychology and interactive visualisation, Nuro was designed as a mental palate cleanser to help increase curiosity before entering the Triennial, with the game also offering utility well beyond the exhibition.
La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar AO said the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of good mental health and tested our ability to focus in the face of global upheaval.
“Nuro harnesses La Trobe’s expertise in a range of research fields. It is an innovative tool that people can use anywhere, anytime on their mobile phone, to find a sense of flow. Its many applications could include preparing for an exam or helping focus ahead of a sports’ game.”
Housed online, Nuro invites users to ‘play their way to curious’ by interacting with a curated series of spheres, shapes, colours, sounds and textures. There is no high-score or specific goal other than to interact and explore at your own pace.
La Trobe’s immersive technologies expert, Dr Richard Skarbez, added, “The reason that we developed Nuro specifically for the Triennial is that we feel this mindset of active curiosity is really the mindset that you need to have to get the most out of the exhibition. And I don’t think there’s ever been a game that’s been specifically designed through science to make you curious.”
Clemenger BBDO Melbourne executive creative director, Jim Curtis, added, “Mobile phones have become a constant window to distraction. Scrolling mindlessly through our social media feeds has been proven to reduce focus and clarity. Nuro, on the other hand, is a mobile game that’s actually good for the brain. And we hope, beyond being the perfect mental palate cleanser before entering the Triennial, it can also be helpful to people before a big exam, presentation, or any other experience demanding calmness and focus. It also exemplifies the breadth of capability and ingenuity of the University.”
La Trobe academics who contributed to Nuro’s development were Associate Professor Craig Deed, psychology researcher Dr Laila Hugrass and immersive technologies expert Dr Richard Skarbez.
Nuro is live and will be available for use throughout the entirety of the NGV Triennial and beyond, with the tool to be leveraged across the university’s ongoing partnerships and sponsorships. Visit playnuro.com to find out more or to experience Nuro for yourself.
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