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REACTOR showcases the region’s talent for gamification

Published: 19 October 2017 at 13:37

Man stood at a podium, at REACTOR Showcase, with Big Gamification Challenge 2018 presentation slides projected behind him

REACTOR’s first initiative, The Big Gamification Challenge, culminated at a Showcase event at The Junction in Cambridge on Thursday 28 September.

This year’s theme for the Challenge was Exploring Local Culture and Heritage. REACTOR invited SMEs to consider the challenges people face as visitors to local sites of interest, and what could be done through applied gaming to enhance these experiences. Lorraine Turner, Partner, Yo Yo Let’s Go, spoke about the app she has developed to help families explore UK cities. Inspired by her own experiences of visiting cities and struggling to find family friendly attractions or eateries, or even baby-changing facilities, and observations of children playing interactive location-based games like Pokémon Go, Yo Yo Let’s Go has been developed, supported by the REACTOR project, to not only provide essential information for parents but also to engage children in city visits, whether at museums or swimming pools, cafés or university colleges. 

Six local businesses were invited to present their gamification concepts at the Showcase event and the breadth of concepts presented provided a taste of what can be achieved through gamification, or applied gaming. Jan Storgårds, REACTOR Project Director, welcomed attendees to the Showcase – celebrating the 80+ companies that have been involved in the REACTOR project during the first year – before handing over to keynote speaker Peter Dawe. Entrepreneur and founder of Cambridge Electric Transport, Dawe invited attendees to test drive his latest venture – the CitiPod, a pedelec vehicle (powered both by pedals and electricity).

Another fascinating example of how REACTOR has already been influential was conveyed with the preview of myPhysioPal, a physiotherapy app that gamifies the everyday physio routines of children with Cystic Fibrosis. Will Jackson, Managing Director of PlayPhysio, the company that has created myPhysioPal, introduced and demonstrated his physiotherapy app. The device attaches to an unmodified NHS therapy device, and dependent on each blow being completed correctly, games hosted on the child’s phone are powered. 

Also presenting at the Showcase was Eija Mäkirintala, co-founder of Altogame Immersive Learning Solutions; Eija spoke about her background in behavioural sciences and the arts as providing her inspiration to develop an applied games solution to allow colleagues to anonymously collaborate, innovate, learn and train together on a level playing field – through a virtual environment. James Shepherd, CEO of Cypherdelic, presented ‘Alive: Rule the Seas’, a genetic evolution game that allows players to turn a single cell into an epic monster, learning about evolution as their avatar evolves. Jonathan Brech from Cambridge Data spoke about TestBoard – a product developed to improve productivity and analysis for data scientists. Alexis Mather, Founder of Nolojy, introduced the audience to the company he started in the summer of 2017 to help organisations make the most out of their people’s knowledge.

Drawing the Showcase to a close, Jan Storgårds said: “It has been a fantastic first year for REACTOR – we have been impressed time and again by the concepts, from such a diverse set of industries and inspirations, which have been thought up by people from across the region with such a breadth of backgrounds and skills. We have seen just a snapshot so far of the many ways that gamification can enhance human experiences, for the benefit of us all. As this first year draws to a close we look forward with great excitement to seeing the products created being ready to go to market, and to meeting the next cohort of innovators when they register for the Big Gamification Challenge 2018.”