An addictive new mobile game developed by a trio of student programmers who teamed up at a one-day coding jam has been released across Apple and Android platforms.
Boxik is a retro style puzzler inspired by classic handheld games such as Tetris. Its simple but engrossing gameplay challenges players to spin a multi coloured cube to catch incoming objects of the corresponding hue – a task that requires surprisingly demanding mental and manual dexterity. With a synth-soaked 80s style soundtrack, the game is unforgiving for first-timers but quickly engrosses players determined to test their screen tapping talents to rack up higher and higher scores.
Boxik was designed and developed by Ryan Burton, Adam Walker and Neville King, all second year undergraduate students in the School of Computer Science at the University of Lincoln, UK. The three teamed up at the University’s on-campus AppFest coding jam in October 2015, where they won a competition to propose a viable mobile application set by the University. The enterprising undergraduates have been working on the game alongside their studies ever since – launching their own company, called Firefrost Games, and website to bring their app to market.
One of the students Adam Walker, originally from Bridlington, said: “It has been great to work on this project together and to see it through the whole production process, from conception and design, to programming and launching to market. Previously when we have built games, it has been as part of jam and has only resulted in short, rough versions of our ideas. It is so exciting to see the final, polished version of our game and we are so pleased to be launching it to market.
“We’re really happy with the final result – Boxik is a very simple yet effective game and it is quite addictive! We designed it for people to play on the bus for example, when they have time to pass, and have found that it encourages players to compete with themselves to beat their top score. We feel Boxik fits extremely well with the current app market trend of effortless and uncomplicated games, which are proving very popular with people of all ages.”
Technology guru Jason Bradbury, who has taught the students in his lecturing role in Lincoln’s School of Computer Science, said: “It’s impressive to see a team of students develop a game so thoroughly from concept to release, handling all the work involved in getting an app out there and onto people’s devices. Just as importantly for the gamers among us, in Boxik they’ve created a good casual game with extremely simple gameplay. I’m very proud but not surprised at what they’ve achieved. Firefrost Games could be ones to watch.”
The game has also already secured a prestigious industry honour: winning a special achievement award from Rockstar Games – the company behind major game franchises such as Grand Theft Auto. Representatives of the global games company, which has a substantial base in the city, tested a pre-release version of the game as special guests at the University of Lincoln’s School of Computer Science End of Year Showcase in May.
Dr David Cobham, Head of the School of Computer Science at the University of Lincoln, said: “We are immensely proud of what Ryan, Adam and Neville have achieved in such a short space of time. Not only have they demonstrated exceptional coding skill and dedication to produce such a professional app, but they have also shown they have the ability to translate an idea into something people all over the world can download and enjoy.
“Throughout the process, they have worked together as a team and tackled the legal and licensing aspects of launching a business and bringing an app to market. Now they have a fully functioning and very exciting company to their name, and we look forward to seeing their future endeavours.”
Technology is supporting and aiding a variety of people and disabilities every single day, enriching their lives as much as possible. Autistic children can now get communication support from robots.
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.
In our latest School of Computer Science Research Seminar we look at the ‘Socially Interactive Robotic Framework for Communication Training for Children with Autism’ and how robotic communication can aid their skills and behaviour.
Come along on 4th July at 1pm in MC3108 to hear Dr Xiaofeng Liu give an insightful FREE talk on this very interesting and topical subject.
Social robots are often employed to assist children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) for communication, education and therapeutic training. Many studies have shown that the intervention of social robots can promote educational or therapeutic outcomes.
In this study, we record gaze-based child-robot interaction to evaluate the engagement of children, which enable us to design the specific educational or therapeutic items for each child. The platform is built up by a NAO humanoid robot, and a depth camera that captures child’s actions and detect their gaze. The pilot tests have shown that our framework is helpful for therapist to design appropriate and personalised training courses for each child.
XIAOFENG LIU received a Ph.D. degree in biomedical engineering from Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, China, in 2006. From 2008 to 2011, he held a post-doctoral position with the Institute of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, Xi’an Jiaotong University. From 2011, he has been with the College of IoT Engineering, Hohai University, Changzhou, where he is currently a full-time Professor and the Vice Director of the Changzhou Key Laboratory of Robotics and Intelligent Technology. From 2013 to 2014 He was a visiting professor at University College London, UK. His current research interests focus on the study of nature-inspired navigation, human robot interaction, and neural information processing.
All are welcome.
SoCS Research Seminar
Caregiver 4.0 – Experiences from Introducing a Robot into a Geriatric Long Term Care Environment
Time: Monday, 11/7/16, 2pm
Due to demographic changes that lead to an ageing society, a shortage of care provision is anticipated. As a probable solution technical aids for enhancing independent living of older adults and for supporting staff in the elder care sector are proposed. But technical aids often lack required autonomy and were so far primarily tested in lab situations. Thus, the STRANDS –project came to live with the aim to develop a long-term autonomous learning robotic system that can be actually deployed in elder care and in other work environments under “real-world conditions” over longer periods of time.
Besides the technical challenges associated with such an endeavour, different questions were raised: What does staff in the elder care sector require from a robotic aid? In what areas could we deploy our STRANDS-robot in real world conditions? How would older adults and care staff experience interacting or working with the robot? What ethical guidelines have to be met when introducing a robotic aid in such an environment? And what could the future with such robotic aids look like in elder care? Questions that will be addressed in this presentation.
Denise Hebesberger studied Biology (grad. 2013) and Educational Science (grad. 2012) at the University of Vienna. After graduation and working in different fields of science, she joined the Academy for Research on Ageing as a project manager in 2014. The Academy is social science partner within different EU-wide research consortia that develop technical aids and assistive systems for older adults or for the care sector and study their impact in terms of social acceptance and human-robot interaction on end users. She is responsible for establishing theoretical frameworks, evaluation designs and data analysis (mixed methods designs & structural equation modelling), as well as dissemination of research results and scientific publications.
A masterclass day was held for around 50 students from Grimsby’s Franklin College, North Lindsey College and Lincoln College to give them an insight into what it would be like to study computing, science or maths at University.
The day was a great success, with Lincoln College especially happy with the sessions that fitted nicely with their curriculum.
From computing to physics, life sciences, biochemistry and pharmacy, the day took students into science labs, game playing and theoretical presentations.
Computer game students got to test out the latest ultimate game development platform ‘Unity’.
Trying out the system allowed students to see how games are put together, how we support our students in developing this skill and how to put it into practice to make their own game.
The sessions on a masterclass day really aim to reflect what a real lecture would entail in Higher Education.
Students were encouraged to get involved, ask questions and really get a feel of the courses available and university lectures in general.