UTC Supported Virtual Reality and Prosthetics Project Opens to the Public

Last week UTC Sheffield City Centre students enjoyed an exclusive first look around the Virtual Reality and Prosthetics Exhibition, a collaboration between Sheffield Hallam University and UTC Sheffield funded by the Wellcome Trust. The exhibition will soon move to the Millennium Galleries and then onto Weston Park Museum and will be open to the public.

UTC students were involved in the  Virtual Reality and Prosthetics project behind the exhibition, which aimed to create interactive and virtual reality resources to enable the public to improve their understanding of how joints work and how the brain controls movements, particularly when using prosthetic limbs. The project has stimulated debate about limb loss and views of ‘normality’ and the aim is to carry on this debate through the exhibition.

After the initial viewing of the culimation of their work, UTC Sheffield invited two local primary schools to visit the exhibition: Gleadless Primary School and Arbourthorne Community Primary School.

Made up of a number of different activities and information stations, the exhibition offered students an insight into the reality of limb loss and the impact of virtual reality. Activities included: ‘Solve It’ where students were challenged to wrap a gift with only one hand, ‘Design It’ where students designed their own prosthetic arm, ‘Make It’ where students build up the anatomy of an arm using card, straws and balloons, as well as ‘Joint Physiology’ and ‘Painted Fabrics’ that displayed prosthetics through the ages. Students also had the opportunity to hear from Charlotte, who herself has a prosthetic arm, and experience virtual reality through Occulus Rift.

Commenting on the exhibition, fifteen-year-old UTC student Matt said, ‘It’s been an amazing experience, this is the best thing I’ve ever done. I’m really glad I could be involved.’

Assistant Principal Brigidin Crowther, who leads on the project for UTC, commented, ‘We have had an amazing two days showcasing everything the UTC was set up to achieve – interdisciplinary design, games technology, science, innovation and creativity. It is inspiring to work with our Sheffield Hallam University partners supported by the Wellcome Trust in bringing this exhibition to life. Our students have worked on this project from the beginning and helped to refine the design and workshops in collaboration with young people from Slotshaven Gymnasium, Denmark. The ‘skeleton in a box’, anatomy scanner and virtual reality immersive experience as well as the history of prosthetics and films were particular highlights.’

The Exhibition is now open to the public in the Millennium Galleries and will move onto Weston Park Museum on the following dates:

  • Millennium Galleries 25- 27 October
  • Weston Park Museum 12-13 November

Find out more about the Virtual Reality and Prosthetics Project here: https://vrprosthetics.shu.ac.uk/

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