Tag Archives: Dr Patrick Dickinson

Intelligent navigation system to personalise shopping trips

A ground-breaking indoor navigation system is being developed to help improve people’s experiences of a range of businesses, including supermarkets, hospitals and leisure parks.

Mobile app developer RNF Digital Innovation has unveiled the project, which will use smartphones, tablets and iBeacons, following a £500,000 grant from the Technology Strategy Board, the UK’s Innovation Agency.

A further £202,000 investment will come through RNF Digital Innovation and its collaborative project partners, the Bestway Group, plus the University of Lincoln, UK, and Aston University, who will both provide technical and research support for the project.

The grant was one of only a handful of successful applications to the £5m fund set up by the Technology Strategy Board to stimulate innovation in the UK location-based services sector.

The aim of the competitive fund is to support projects that capitalise on the increasing accuracy, coverage and speed of global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) such as GPS and other non-satellite technologies including Wi-Fi and iBeacon – which enables a smart phone or other device to perform actions when in close proximity.

The technology will have applications for a range of sectors. For example in the retail sector, indoor navigation systems would enable the user to work out their quickest and most economical route at the supermarket alerting them to offers and product updates on the way.

Computer scientist Dr Patrick Dickinson, who is coordinating the project for the University of Lincoln, said: “We are really excited to be working on this project with RNF Digital Innovation, Bestway Cash and Carry, and Aston University, who will exploit these services to enable market-leading mobile apps, and new and uniquely personalised experiences for Bestway customers.

“Shoppers will be able to use an intelligent location-sensitive app which integrates with their shopping trip. It will combine their preferences and previous shopping behaviour with information about the store they are visiting, to plan their unique experience in real-time, alert them to points of interest, resulting in a more productive and enjoyable visit.”

Rob Mannion, RNF Digital Innovation Managing Director, added: “This system will allow us to deploy and utilise iBeacons in a way never seen before, enabling the creation of a user experience far in advance of what is currently available.”

Jamil Mohammed, Group E-commerce Manager at Bestway Group, said that by embracing iBeacon technology throughout its network of UK stores and depots, Bestway will be able to offer its customers a unique retail experience.

The indoor navigation system project, including research and development, is scheduled to take place over the next 18 months.

Man using digital tablet

Become an ultimate Dungeon Master through Twitter

A new fantasy videogame that will give players the power to generate their own levels through Twitter has been launched.

Hashtag Dungeon is unique, in that rather than procedurally generating its own content, the game is tied to the @HashtagDungeon Twitter account which tweets out the code that becomes a whole new level of dungeon generation.

Create dungeons yourself using the built-in dungeon editor and tweet your levels to the world, or venture through levels created by other players. Assume the role of a Dungeon Explorer or a Dungeon Master in order to create a unique dungeon crawling experience.

Developed by graduate Sean Oxspring and current Computer Science undergraduate Kieran Hicks, from the University of Lincoln, UK, the game has been compared to the original Zelda.

Sean, who is a freelance games developer, said: “I had the original idea to create a dungeon crawler from tweets – relating letters to items in rooms. Together with Kieran and Dr Patrick Dickinson in the School of Computer Science we refined the idea and it became a collaborative design tool. Dungeons are made up of combinations of tweets with the same hashtag identifiers. I’m astounded by the feedback we’ve had so far.”

Called a roguelike, Hashtag Dungeon is a sub-genre of role-playing video games, characterized by random level generation, tile-based graphics and permanent death.

The game challenges players to clear every room in a dungeon before taking down a final bad guy, and also allows users to create their own dungeons.

By tweeting code tagged as #HashtagDungeon, players can add new content in the form of rooms filled with monsters, traps and other content. All tagged tweets will automatically be uploaded within the game.

For those whose coding skills may be more basic, Hashtag Dungeon includes an editor option where players can build rooms by dragging and dropping elements and tweeting the results.

Kieran said: “I wanted to create a game that focussed on social integration and user creativity and expression. Using twitter as the means to generate dungeons helps to accomplish this. The whole game is built to be as social as possible; the room design system has a lot of depth to it to allow players to feel like they have control and can make design decisions. The idea now is to follow in the footsteps of games like Minecraft and Don’t Starve by adding content to the game over time based on player feedback.”

Dr Dickinson added: “Hashtag Dungeon is a unique concept which leverages social media in a very interesting way. Kieran and Sean have worked really hard in bringing this project to fruition, and the game is getting better and better, so I am glad they are getting some well-deserved recognition.”

Hashtag Dungeon has been launched on PC devices. To download go to www.hashtagdungeon.com

Hashtag Dungeon
Hashtag Dungeon
Hashtag Dungeon
Hashtag Dungeon

Project will preserve community memories of Lincoln Cathedral

A project involving researchers at the University of Lincoln and the team at Lincoln Cathedral will see members of the public using a new Smartphone application to preserve and share their memories of events associated with local historic sites.

The ‘Crowd-Curated History’ project, being led by academics from Media, Computer Science and History subject areas at the University of Lincoln, UK, will enable visitors to Lincoln Cathedral, and other local historic sites, to contribute their stories to the body of knowledge about exhibits, objects and places.

The research was inspired by conversations with tour guides, who noted that visitors on tours often tell fascinating stories about how places played significant roles in important life events; such as weddings, graduations, first kisses with future spouses, or inspiration for works of art. Often, these stories become incorporated informally in tours of those places, through guides passing the stories on. However, the stories are rarely recorded formally, and when guides leave, the stories are lost.

The project will allow tour guides, in collaboration with members of the public, to be more directly involved in recording and preserving local community history.

It will explore the use of ‘Augmented Reality’ (AR) technology for capturing and sharing these community histories. AR software allows users to see graphics, video and audio data displayed ‘on top of’ their view of the real world, when using the phone’s video camera and display screen. This software will allow visitors to attach text, speech and images as virtual tags to exhibits, items or areas of interest, where subsequent visitors can play them back.

Also included will be additional information, anecdotes and stories passed down from previous generations.

Project lead, Dr Andrew Elliott from the Lincoln School of Media, said: “Our project is designed to capture local history from those who are frequently shut out of the process. Traditionally we learn history through three methods; education, public history such as visiting historical sites and museums, and cultural pursuits such as watching films and reading novels. The problem is that these are typically led by someone who decides what that history means, and then feeds it back to you.

“We will explore a model in which visitors become the co-creators and curators of the local historical narrative.”

The research relies on technical expertise from the University’s School of Computer Science, drawing on Dr John Murray’s research with crowd sourcing platforms, Dr Conor Linehan’s expertise in interaction design and Dr Patrick Dickinson’s work on Augmented Reality technology.

Dr Dickinson said: “The idea is that visitors to a museum or historical site can hold their phone over a specific exhibit to find out additional information, but they will also be given the chance to record their own experiences of the site. This will provide a community oral history linked to the exhibits and artefacts, creating a deeper sense of ownership.”

The Cathedral’s head of fundraising, Anne Irving, added: “This project makes a valuable contribution to the Lincoln Cathedral Connected project, for which we hope to secure Heritage Lottery Funding in May this year. We are delighted to be to working with the University of Lincoln on this innovative and exciting initiative.”

Researchers will initially gather together visitors to the cathedral to discuss their experiences and the relevance of the cathedral to their own lives and history. The software will then be developed in close collaboration with the Cathedral over the summer, and will be evaluated in December 2014.

If you would like to take part in this project please contact Dr Andrew Elliott by e-mailing aelliott@lincoln.co.uk

Lincoln Cathedral
Lincoln Cathedral

First workshop for Performance and Games Network

The first of three workshops for a new research project looking at creating new videogames will take place this week.

Led by the Games Research Group at the University of Lincoln, the Performance and Games Network involves several researchers from Lincoln’s School of Computer Science, including Dr Patrick Dickinson, Dr Duncan Rowland, Dr Conor Linehan, Dr Ben Kirman, Dr John Shearer and Kathrin Gerling, working with Dr Kate Sicchio from the School of Performing Arts and Dr Grethe Mitchell from the School of Media.

The first session, which will bring together games developers, performance practitioners and academics, will be hosted by the University on 25th and 26th March.

Themed around movement and gesture based input devices, the core of the activity will be centred around a “hack” style event in which participants will work in small groups on design and/or prototyping exercises around a number of sub-themes and software.

Some of the sub-themes include mobility impaired performance; physical games in playgrounds; and audience and movement games.

Experts in the field will also be giving special talks. Guests include Ida Toft and Sabine Harrer from Copenhagen Game Collective at IT University, Copenhagen; Nick Burton from Rare Ltd; David Renton from Microsoft; and Matt Watkins from Mudlark.

The research group is also collaborating with Performance and New Media Professor Gabriella Giannachi, from the University of Exeter, and Arts Queensland, based in Brisbane.

The project is being sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as part of a wider initiative to develop the creative industries and put Britain back at the forefront of creative technology.

There will be two more inter-disciplinary workshops in Nottingham, UK, and Brisbane, Australia, where researchers working in games studies, human computer interaction and technical aspects of game development will continue to work with developers and performance researchers/practitioners to prototype new collaborative game ideas.

Performer on keyboard