News | Monday, 25th July 2016

‘Coxemon’ is Go at Manchester Festival of Science

Interactive augmented and virtual reality technology

Avatar Brian Cox hidden in a poster at Number 70 Oxford Street

MANCHESTER’s star scientist Brian Cox has had a reincarnation or two, but nothing as radical as his new look for the Manchester’s European City of Science festivities.

An augmented reality ‘Coxemon’ will be in place at Number 70 Oxford Street one of the festival centres from 22 – 29 July, as part of a digital guide to the Festival created by the University of Salford with Manchester Metropolitan University.

Over the Science in the City Festival week, visitors can download the mobile application and walk around the city to discover new things about its past, present, and future discoveries.

Professor Andy Miah, project lead at the University of Salford, said: “The SCIence MANchester app works with the same technology as Pokemon Go, enabling visitors and science enthusiasts to see virtual statues and other digital ‘bodies’ through their mobiles.

Virtual world

“Of all people, Brian Cox will surely delight at existing in a virtual dimension for the duration of what is the biggest week of science in the city’s history.”

The SCIence MANchester app uses ‘beacons’ technology created with US firm Spark Compass, which alerts you to the presence of something you are approaching, just like the worldwide craze Pokemon Go.

By downloading the app you’ll be plugging into around 100 activities and artefacts around the city with a variety of videos, augmented reality, virtual tours and more.

Features include a virtual tour of the Manchester Ship Canal and a virtual statue of Emily Williamson, an unsung Victorian scientist, whose work with bird welfare laid the foundations of the RSPCA.

Interactive

Professor Miah added: “What we’ve created is basically a science version of the Pokemon Go game, which allows people to collect science experiences.

“The idea was to take tourism to a new level and give people digital experiences that allow them to discover more about a place and interactive with surprising, creative work, which tells a different story of Manchester' science scene."

Peter Woodbridge, Senior Lecturer in Filmmaking at Manchester School of Art, who engineered the VR Coxemon, said: "Augmented and virtual reality, when combined with the use of connected sensors around our urban environments, enables us to think about media storytelling in entirely new ways.

“It is great to be a part of such an experimental and innovative project around Manchester's rich scientific heritage, and it is wonderful to be working in collaboration with Salford University on a project that brings art, technology and science together."

Notes for Editors

The new Science Manchester app, available from Google Play, the Apple App Store and www.manchestersciencecity.com.

Manchester Metropolitan University's Number 70 Oxford St is the base for a host of exciting science activities during the festival of Science July 22-29.

See what Manchester Metropolitan University is up to during Science in the City at our official festival site http://www2.mmu.ac.uk/ecos/

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