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New Incubator Space to promote gamification concepts

Published: 30 January 2018 at 10:00

Professor Martin Hewitt at the launch event

Anglia Ruskin’s REACTOR launches new facility to help Cambridgeshire businesses

A new Incubator Space was officially launched on Friday 26 January in Cambridge as part of the REACTOR project, which helps companies find new ways to gamify products and services to improve the human experience.

Co-funded by Anglia Ruskin University and the European Regional Development Fund, the Incubator Space is available for use by all eligible SMEs working with REACTOR, and provides hi-spec hardware for designing, developing and publishing gamified products, using top of the range games software.

Supported by technical and academic expertise to ensure a successful progression from concept to reality, REACTOR aims to support the growth of an applied games sector across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

The launch event was an opportunity for local businesses to explore REACTOR’s new space, play games and learn how gamification can add value to their work.

Jan Storgårds, REACTOR Project Director opened the event. He said:

“The launch of the Incubator Space is an important milestone for the REACTOR project. We are also a start-up, although operating within the bigger organisation of Anglia Ruskin University, so we are always continuing to improve our services and facilities. 

“The digital creative cluster in Cambridgeshire is amazing and we want to harness what that community can offer to our SMEs and start-ups involved with REACTOR. The Incubator Space is the perfect way to facilitate this collaboration.”

REACTOR welcomed back Pete Jenkins of Gamification+ who was the keynote speaker at the project’s inaugural event in 2017. Pete spoke to the audience about whether gamification is a distraction or necessity in the modern world.

He explained that, in spite of a constant flow of new technologies, this era of email overload and social media feeds is distracting us from our work. Pete posed the question:

“Are games an additional distraction or can we use them to remove distractions, improve focus and get back on a path to delivering quality work, higher productivity and mastery?” 

To this end he facilitated an impressive multi-player game of the classic ‘thumb war’ with all attendees in the room to reiterate his point about using game play to remove other distractions.

Speakers at the launch also included Sam Goodall of Cambridge Cleantech who introduced the audience to an initiative run by the organisation called GreenSoul. The project aims to achieve higher energy efficiency in public buildings by altering the way people use energy consuming shared devices (lights, printers) and personal devices (personal pluggable appliances). GreenSoul dovetails with this year’s Big Gamification Challenge, set by REACTOR, Immersive Environments | A series of smart cities challenges.

Daniel Dearing from Cambridge Wireless discussed the many ways that gamification can support industry, commenting that Cambridge is a sweet spot of technology and that innovation should be viewed as a contact sport – confirming the importance of engaging with communities such as Cambridge Wireless.

James Shepherd from Cypherdelic, a Cambridge based company currently engaged with REACTOR, brought the event to a close with his presentation of ‘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.

Professor Martin Hewitt, Dean and Pro Vice Chancellor at Anglia Ruskin University (pictured at the launch event) commented on the opening of the Incubator Space:

“I am delighted that REACTOR is continuing to make progress. 

“We have an underlying desire to build links between the university and academics, students, research and enterprise. It’s fantastic to see that this activity is bearing fruit and I expect that this event is just the start of a series of productive conversations and collaborations.”