Centre for Digital Entertainment annual celebration

In an event resembling the Gadget Show our Centre for Digital Entertainment recently welcomed industry partners from around the world to its annual showcase and celebration.

The Centre’s unique setup, which sees its EngD students spend the majority of their research time based within leading companies in the digital entertainment sector, means that the work carried out is already having a huge impact on the companies involved and on the sector more broadly.

Much of this exciting research was on show at the event, held at the Assembly Rooms in Bath. Take, for example, Charlotte Hoare who is working within the BBC.

Charlotte Hoare is looking into how technology such as "smart" wallpaper could give an immersive experience for TV viewers

Charlotte told us about her research: “My work is all about multi-device experiences, which means I’ve been working on a project called ‘smart wallpaper’. This is the idea that in twenty years time, you might paper the walls of your home with electronic wallpaper, and change them in an instant!"

“I’m interested in how we can use these large scale displays in the home to create immersive entertainment experiences. So when you’re watching a natural history programme you might be transported to the Serengheti, or the Arctic, whilst you’re still on your sofa.”

Zack Lyons is working with Bath-based company Designability that looks to change lives with assistive technologies. Zack said: “Through my research I’ve been looking at ways to use virtual reality technologies to improve the way we rehabilitate brain injury patients. We’ve progressed well and our next steps are to engage clinicians, get their feedback on our prototypes, and then move on to clinical trails working with current brain injury patients who may be able to benefit from this technology.”

The Centre for Digital Entertainment, in partnership with Bournemouth University, works closely with its industry partners to ensure both that the students undertake valuable research and that they contribute to the companies’ research and development ambitions.

Industry partner Marco Romeo, from the Moving Picture Company, said: “For us, the EngD programme is a great opportunity to have fresh minds coming into our company. It provides such an incredible push on the technology we use - giving new views on our current problems and helping us to find new solutions. So basically, this is just the first step towards innovation inside our company.”

Zack Lyons is using virtual reality to help the rehabilitation of patients recovering from brain injuries

Zack Lyons is using virtual reality to help the rehabilitation of patients recovering from brain injuries

Phil Willis, Director of the Centre for Digital Entertainment, said: “The Centre is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) which is a national body funding research in the UK. It came out of an initiative to raise the scale of doctoral training in Britain, taking it away from being just two or three students in a lab to much larger groups of students.

“Here at Bath this has allowed us to create an Engineering Doctorate centre, which means our students spend their three research years based within a company. Obviously this is really a fantastic way for them to undertake research that is at the forefront of the industry, and for the companies we work with to access the newest thought on a range of issues.”

Zack Lyons added: “Studying an EngD is challenging because there is so much you could do, there are so many different routes you could go down. It really is a case of finding out what makes you passionate, persuing it, finding out how you can influence industry and how you can integrate your ideas within their work. Its enjoyable and a huge challenge - a challenge I would recommend anyone should try.”

Our Centre for Digital Entertainment has also drawn the attention and sparked the imaginations of its local community in Bath and the south west, with attendees at the celebration event including the city’s Mayor Councillor Cherry Beath along with a host of local companies.

David Maher Roberts is Founder of TechSpark, the information hub for all things tech in Bristol, Bath and the West of England region. He said: “Investing in the CDE brings a lot of connections to big private companies into the area, and it brings together and focuses knowledge in solving big problems in digital entertainment. It also connects with local companies, such as Aardman in Bristol. So essentially it focuses digital entertainment from a global perspective right into the centre of of the region so knowledge is built here - putting the area on the map.”

Watch a video about the event:

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