Whatever each of us may think about this week’s Budget, some good news is the focus it gives to new technology development, particularly in the field of immersive technologies and artificial intelligence. The Executive Summary on page 1 of the Budget document specifically mentions these technologies and the Government’s plans to fund their growth. This is actually happening already; for example, calls from the Research Councils for universities to work in partnership with immersive technology industries have been emerging over the past 12 months or so, and the number of calls and the amount of funding look set to increase. So, I’m delighted that a bid Kate Welham, Professor of Archaeology at BU, and I put into such a call from the AHRC has been successful! We’ll be working with a VR development company (Daden Ltd), a consortium of specialists in immersive soundscapes (Satsymph) and the National Trust to develop a fully immersive VR simulation of Avebury Henge in Wiltshire (see the picture above) circa 2,300 BCE, drawing on a prototype I developed last year in a virtual world environment. We’re planning to start in February next year and will be blogging and tweeting about it relentlessly from then on! We’re also very keen to create as many opportunities as possible for colleagues to experience Virtual Avebury as it develops, so we’ll be running workshops and lunchtime events too.
If you have an interest in developing virtual reality, immersive technologies or AI for your teaching or research and you’d like to chat about the opportunities, just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.