Young people aspiring to be the next Tim Peake can now get a virtual representation of themselves as an astronaut, thanks to a new installation at Techniquest.
The science discovery centre in Cardiff Bay has installed a virtual reality changing room in time for half term.
As part of a strategy to refresh and renew its visitor experience, Techniquest has partnered with Cowbridge-based Creative Jam to develop the interactive augmented reality experience, the first of its kind in Wales.
Visitors can try a range of costumes and uniforms, allowing them to imagine themselves in a variety of careers including astronomy, astronomy, engineering and veterinary.
The installation follows a review and recommendations by Julie Williams, Wales’ Chief Scientific Adviser, looking into how the education charity can improve science engagement amongst young people and inspire them in different scientific professions.
Lesley Kirkpatrick, CEO of Techniquest said: “At Techniquest, we’re committed to inspiring the next generation in STEM through interactive engagement and our latest installation is designed to do exactly that.
“Young people are often heard saying ‘when I’m older, I want to be a….’ and our virtual reality changing room allows them to explore a range of STEM careers and picture themselves in the profession.
“Retailers like Topshop are trialling digital technology to go virtual in their changing rooms, but this is the first of its kind in Wales. As technology continues to advance, so do many of our exhibits. We really wanted to introduce new technologies to our exhibition floor, and while virtual reality continues to develop, we thought it would be a great experience.”
To ensure the new installation provides an engaging, memorable and innovative experience to audiences of all ages, the virtual reality changing room has over 30 costumes allowing visitors to see themselves in Welsh themed costumes (a Welsh lady costume, football strip, daffodil hat), fairy tales, Halloween and Christmas costumes.
In honour of Techniquest’s building’s former use as a dry dock in Tiger Bay, there is also historical costumes including the Marquis of Bute and a dock worker.
Lesley continued: “We’re always looking for ways to enhance our visitor experience and extend our appeal to audiences of all ages. With a range of categories and costumes, not only will our new installation will inspire and engage young people in STEM, but it will provide an engaging, memorable and innovative experience for visitors of all ages.”
Over half term visitors to Techniquest can also enjoy science shows – Generation Game and Pawprints in the Summer Sky.
Techniquest is an educational charity based in Cardiff Bay and Wales’ largest provider of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) enrichment activity. It offers more than 120 hands-on exhibits, a Science Theatre, a Planetarium and a shop packed full of Welsh souvenirs and educational gifts
For more information on the centre’s half term activities please visit www.techniquest.org or call 02920 475475.