Talks and opportunities
We promote mathematics and biology by visiting schools and giving short talks to the general public about our research. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss outreach opportunities with us.
Viruscraft began as a Wellcome Trust funded research project with non-profit organisation, Then Try This. It combines tangible interfaces, craft and computer games to explore the work of evolutionary biologist Dr. Ben Longdon, who is finding out what determines the ability of a virus to jump into new host species.
The original game was about understanding how viruses jump between different host species – for the new version the focus shifted to understanding how viruses and hosts co-evolve. Our original ambitions were to simplify the game world, and make a multi-location installation so that, for example, one person could be playing as the virus in one location while someone in another location would play as the host species, or we could send out multiple playable viruses to allow people to work together in a single online game world.
The development process started shortly before the pandemic – so shared, touchable viruses became untenable. We also had to start thinking much more about how people would feel when they were playing, as it was all suddenly much more real for everyone.
You can explore Viruscraft 2 further on www.thentrythis.org where Amber and Dave Griffiths have documented how the physical installation evolved in the face of the pandemic to become ‘hands-off’ with gesture sensors to detect movement. You can also play an online version of the game that does not require access to the installation.