Media Sandbox 2010 commissions announced

The seven successful commissions under this years’ Media Sandbox project have been announced. The commissions cover a wide range of innovative concepts from environmentally aware mobile games to scent “sculptures”.

For 2010, Media Sandbox has been divided into two strands: B-Open and Pervasive Experiences.


B-Open gives digital developers free access to key data about life in Bristol, which Bristol City Council has published openly for the very first time. The strand will comprise three new digital developments, helping Bristol lead the way in becoming a smart, green, digital city. These mobile and online applications will help people with limited mobility find accessible routes through the city, create interest in local food and environmental impact, and increase understanding of how Council funds are spent.

1. Overlay Media will develop a digital map to help people with restricted mobility, such as wheelchair users, older people and people with pushchairs, find the best and easiest route between two places. The route will take into account information on hills, cobbled streets and the location of drop-kerbs for example.

2. Mobile Pie will create Blossom Bristol, a phone based game that will encourage people to plant virtual crops in any part of Bristol and watch as they flourish or fail depending on environmental factors such as the city’s air quality, water quality, weather and temperature. The player’s real-life activities will also feed into their success in the game with credits and rewards being offered when players choose to shop locally or at a Farmer’s Market.

3. Later this year, all council’s will be required to publish detailed figures on all items of expenditure over £500. Delib will develop a website that will set out this complex financial information in easy to understand and accessible ways.

Pervasive Experiences

Under the Pervasive Experiences strand, Media Sandbox 2010 will also support the development of four inspiring ideas exploring senses and sensors to create new models of interaction with digital technologies and enhance our experiences, whether with music, games or within a retail environment.

4. The power of the voice is often overlooked in its ability to create unique, engaging and accessible interactive experiences. Mutant Labs, a brilliant young company based in Plymouth will develop a system in which our voices or other sounds could be used as a control mechanism in computer games.

5. Moksha, an exciting new Bristol based company will create experiences made only from scent. The project will research how we can use smell to evoke emotion and communicate ideas, and look at ways in which this could be used commercially.

6. Remode are fascinated by new types of gaming console currently in development by large companies such as Nintendo, which enable the input of sensory data such as our heart rates or body temperatures. Remode will create a prototype game in which this type of sensory data could help us succeed or fail within the game and enhance our experience of play.

7. Nu Desine will create a new electronic musical instrument. This programmable device will allow players to trigger sounds through the use of sensors and smart materials and offer a new type of performance experience.

Development work on these projects will be concentrated over the next three months, with a major showcase event taking place in February 2011. I am delighted to be a part of the Media Sandbox, working with the commissions on their business planning and routes to market.

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