University launches new game and degrees at Gadget Show

Staff and students from the School of Computing and IT (SCIT) are exhibiting at the event at the NEC in Birmingham from April 7 to 11 2010.

The University’s Games Society has developed a viral game inspired by the Gadget Show Live Exhibition 2010. The Gadget Catcher challenges players to catch gadgets falling from a spaceship and bank them in a safe to collect points. The addictive game, developed by students with support from McCann Erikson design agency, uses Flash technology and will be available to play at the show.

Chairman of the Games Society, Paul Hickman, said: “We are now able to appreciate how real companies work and how a games is designed and developed. We are glad to have the opportunity to have our game launched at the Gadget Show.”

Visitors will also be able to try out the Wolverhampton Eye in The Sky, which features a wireless camera attached to a blimp. The camera transmits and converts images to digital onto the stand, and guests will be able to fly the Eye in the Sky at the University’s Stand in the Game Zone (Hall 10) and email a photo to themselves as a souvenir. The blimp houses a camera, motor and computer, all of which have been created by Ed Wilson, a 3rd year Computer Science student, who has faced challenges including the restricted weight load required to enable the blimp to fly.

Ed worked on the Eye in the Sky during his placement year and is attending the Show. He said: “The electronics for the blimp is a great example of the logical processing that we are taught in our degree which I have now put into practice. I have designed and implemented the flight control system, written the software, enabled the Bluetooth communication, built a custom operating system, and designed the motor controller for the blimp.”

Prospective students can also find out more about two new ‘gadget’ degrees at the University, the BSc (Hons) Computer Systems Engineering and the BSc (Hons) Computer Systems Engineering (Networks). Experts will be on hand at the exhibition to offer advice about applying for the innovative courses, available from September 2010.

An example of some of the skills students can gain on the new gadget degrees is an interactive touchscreen device developed by lecturers Dr Chris Dennett and Sarah Mount. The Wolverhampton Infrared Touchscreen is a multi-touch user interface which will be on display at the Show. The screen itself does not contain computerised technology, as it is controlled from a short distance away. Visitors will be able to interact with the screen by moving and manipulating images of the University. The exhibit demonstrates how knowledge and understanding of both hardware and software are required to develop modern computer systems, combined with an element of electronics.

Other attractions include a simulated environment, the Tangible Wolverhampton Animated Digital Life. This allows visitors to affect the environment, for example creating earthquakes and changing the temperature, which in turn changes the behaviour of the virtual inhabitants. This uses technology taught on Artificial Intelligence modules at the University and employs techniques widely used in video games and film animations.

One of the Gadget Show's presenters, Suzi Perry, recently gained an honorary fellowship from the University of Wolverhampton. Suzi was recognised for being a positive role model as a journalist and broadcaster and for charity work with Promise Dreams.

To find out more, visit the University’s stand at the Gadget Show at Game Zone (Hall 10) or visit www.wlv.ac.uk/scit

ENDS

For media inquiries please contact Vickie Warren on 01902 322736

Picture: Still from The Gadget Catcher game

Notes to editors

The School of Computing and Information Technology at the University of Wolverhampton features specialist computer labs and teaching rooms. The University offers innovative and flexible undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses that provide students with academic, practical and professional skills to equip them for the world of work.

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