Inventive apps and games to help people with Down's Syndrome, engage children with learning and find your nearest tattoo parlour feature in a diverse range of student projects on show at Staffordshire University's GradEX 2017 exhibition.
Computing, Engineering, Sciences and Technology students will showcase their final year assignments this Friday 12 May at the Stoke-on-Trent campus with industry professionals awarding prizes for the best work.
BSc (Hons) Web Development student Sam Blundred's project was born out of his frustration at the lack of computer games suitable to play with his older sister who has Down's Syndrome.
Sam has developed a cross-platform app called Down Right Perfection, which helps to develop the skills of adults with Down's Syndrome in a fun game set on a farm. He collaborated with a focus group to make the design as easy as possible for users to navigate.
“I wanted to find fun activities that my sister and I could do together but discovered that there's a real gap in the market. Apps that are easy enough for adults with Down's Syndrome tend to be aimed at children, which seem condescending.” he explained.
“My target audience have a learning difficulty so accessibility is really important. The feedback from the group of people with Down's Syndrome was invaluable and I don’t think the game would have been as successful without it.”
The 23-year-old, originally from Burslem, moved to Ireland for eight years before returning to study at Staffordshire University and hopes to develop the game further when he graduates.
“I'm a Stokie at heart and the course at Staffs is great so I've really enjoyed my time here. This project is close to my heart and I would love to pursue it after University - hopefully GradEX will provide the platform to help me do that.”
Meanwhile, Vivian Murray, studying BSc (Hons) Computer Gameplay Design and Production has created a medieval cookery game to engage children with history.
Cooking is required to survive the computer game and players gather ingredients to create meals based on medieval recipes including gruel, beef stew and frumente, a fermented wheat dish. The more accurately players follow the recipe, the more their hunger bar fills up.
Vivian said: “I've always loved history and was actually looking through a medieval cookery book when I came up with the idea. Some of the ingredients are a bit unusual, like blackbird, but I wanted to make the recipes as authentic as possible!
“I think computer games are a really great way to engage children with learning and hopefully my game will help them understand this era and make it fun.”
Another student Chad Rebisz, from the BSc (Hons) Computing Science: Web Development course, has developed 'Inkdex', a new social media app based on Instagram which is dedicated to sharing images of tattoos.
Users can follow each other, like or comment on images and the app also allows users to locate tattoo parlours near to them and read reviews.
Chad commented: “There's a real community of tattoo lovers out there and I wanted to create a place for these enthusiasts to come together. This is a real passion project and I believe there's a market for it. GradEX is a great opportunity to get out there and will hopefully help me take the app further!”
Science projects on show at GradEX include an investigation into whether seaweed tablets stop you putting on weight and if fitness trackers can help catch criminals.
GradEX 2017 takes place on Friday 12 May at the College Road site, Stoke-on-Trent. Exhibits are on display in the Cadman Courtyard and Mellor Building from 10am-12:30pm and 1pm-2pm.
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