A North East immersive technology company has been awarded a share of £4 million from the Driving the Electric Revolution challenge, delivered by Innovate UK for UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), to help develop the workforce of the future.
Fuzzy Logic Studio is collaborating with The Blair Project, a Black-owned STEM education provider in Manchester, to develop a gamified Augmented Reality (AR) app for underrepresented youth aged 11-19. ProtoEV 4 Skills will be a free-to-play immersive platform designed to teach vehicle design, electric vehicle (EV) propulsion and invention skills.
Users will learn how to convert virtual petrol go-karts into energy-efficient electric karts, extending the reach of The Blair Project’s physical ProtoEV STEM Challenge. The app will help to engage a larger, more diverse pool of future innovators, providing links to EV careers.
Harvey Trent, Director of Fuzzy Logic Studio, said: “Immersive technologies, such as Augmented and Virtual Reality, will play an ever-increasing role in closing the future skills gap within the UK. The interactive nature of the final app will enable young people to engage with the world of engineering design and explore the career opportunities that are key to achieving a net zero carbon economy. We are excited to partner with the team at The Blair Project and build on the phenomenal success of their existing physical STEM challenge.”
Using the excitement of building, testing and racing electric go-karts, The Blair Project engages underrepresented youth and adults, particularly those from minority ethnic and lower socioeconomic backgrounds, encouraging them to pursue careers in STEM. Its programmes are focused on accelerating the electric revolution, and equipping people with skills in green technology to enable them to tackle climate change.
Nile Henry, Founder and CEO of The Blair Project, said: “We are passionate about growing an army of future innovators, technicians, engineers and ecopreneurs from under-represented groups. This funding award from UKRI for the ProtoEV app will help to democratise and remove the barriers to participation in innovation. It will allow all young people regardless of age, ability or background to tinker with new technologies, discover talents they never knew they had, learn industry relevant skills, collaborate with others and progress into rewarding careers through the power of gaming.”
Launched by UKRI, the Driving the Electric Revolution challenge is investing £80 million in electrification technologies including power electronics, electric machines and drives (PEMD). ProtoEV 4 Skills, alongside the other 15 projects awarded funding, will support the UK’s push towards a net zero carbon economy and contribute to the development of clean technology supply chains, worth £80 billion in gross domestic product by 2050.
Professor Will Drury, Challenge Director for Driving the Electric Revolution at UKRI added: “We’ve known for too long now that there is not only an engineering skills gap in the UK, but a diversity problem too. By creating a free, immersive gaming app The Blair Project has the potential to introduce a new audience to the world of vehicle design, EV propulsion and the joy of invention. I look forward to seeing how the app develops and is deployed.”
Earlier this year, Fuzzy Logic Studio also released an Augmented Reality app to support The Emerging Skills Project in Electrification. Funded by The Department for Education (DfE), the final AR solution enables technicians and engineers to practice assembling and disassembling an EV battery, motor and connector using interactive 3D digital models. It is available to download free of charge now through an Open Government Licence.