Meet the new project: Open Cabinet

In this interview, Kathryn Eccles talks about Open Cabinet, which is one of the 2018 IT Innovation staff projects. She outlines how this project will bring benefit to members of the University and shares some great tips for applying to the IT Innovation Challenges funding scheme.

Open Cabinet will use augmented reality (AR) technology to create new opportunities for virtual handling of 3D artefacts in museums. The project has two main aims. Firstly, it will embed objects more deeply into the learning experience at Oxford by creating animated AR experiences within museum displays, amplifying the objects’ power and meaning through the rich contexts the galleries provide. Secondly, it aims to enhance the public visitor experience by using this innovative technology to improve access to objects without altering the highly-valued appearance and atmosphere of the museums. The Pitt Rivers Museum holds significant material (text, images, audio, video) relating to its artefacts, and AR provides a mechanism for both ‘extending’ displays by employing these rich materials, and adapting them for visitors with diverse needs, all without the intrusion of permanent, fixed screens in galleries. As the content is activated by a device held up to the display, the Open Cabinet project can encourage deeper engagement whilst avoiding ‘heads down’ distraction.

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Announcing the IT Innovation Challenges 2018/19

We are pleased to announce that the scheme will be inviting both staff and students to submit project ideas in early 2019, to be considered for funding by the scheme. The IT Innovation Challenges scheme supports innovative ideas that can be developed into digital projects and bring benefit to the University or enhance the staff or student experience.

Summer of Innovation

This year we are introducing the Summer of Innovation for students. Students are invited to share their innovative ideas and, if selected, go on to realise these as digital projects with support from the scheme. Being part of the Summer of Innovation will be similar to doing a paid internship, and students will be offered training and guidance to gain project management and digital skills and realise their idea.

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Know Your Oxford: Guided Audio Tour now available

Know Your Oxford is a free guided audio tour for new and prospective students at Oxford.

If you’ve just started studying at Oxford University or you’re thinking about applying, Know Your Oxford will help you to find your feet in the city.

Using a free app on your smartphone (or this website), you’ll get an insider’s view to student life in central Oxford – hearing first-hand from those who know what it’s like to be a student here, and helping you to settle in.

This project was made possible by the 2017/18 IT Innovation Challenges scheme.

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Managing your time

Starting a project from scratch can seem overwhelming, especially if you have never worked on a long-term project before. There are so many tasks that need to be done, but only so much time in a day. So where do you even start?

We have collected some tips and ideas that will help you to think about time management. Once you are in control of your time, completing your project will become much easier. Of course these tips also come in handy in your student and working life. Continue reading

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Currently completed: VESPa – the Virtual Environment Sampling Platform

What is VESPa and how does it work? In this interview, Maureen Doyle, project manager of VESPa – the Virtual Environment Sampling Platform, explains how the tool works and how it can help students with acquiring sampling skills. Continue reading

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The story behind… VESPa – the Virtual Environment Sampling Platform

What it is like working on an IT Innovation Challenges project and what does it take to complete a project? In this interview, Maureen Doyle, project manager of VESPa – the Virtual Environment Sampling Platform, reflects on her experiences as project manager.

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Learmapp launched on AppStore and PlayStore

Learmapp is a mobile-based, learning oriented, networking platform, intended to manage and socialize learning journeys. Developed by Karim El-Mehairy and funded by the IT Innovation Challenges scheme (student round 2016/17), the app has now launched on the AppStore and the PlayStore.

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Funded projects – 2018 Staff Round

The latest IT Innovation Challenges funding round for staff saw 21 ideas shared and discussed. Eight of these were invited to develop and present a project proposal. The IT Innovation Challenges Panel were very impressed with the proposals and the pitches that the project teams made and could only regret that the scheme could not fund all of them.

The following five projects were offered funding and will be running in the year to come (click on the project name to read more about it).

  • Enabling Research and Public Engagement with VR – developing unique and exciting VR applications and experiences. Based at the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (start: July 2018)
  • Instant Video Creation  – piloting an all-in-one video creation solution. Based at the Said Business School (start: August 2018)
  • Open Cabinet: AR access to Oxford’s collections – virtual handling of 3D artefacts in the museum. Carried out by the Oxford Internet Institute, in partnership with the Pitt Rivers Museum and IT Service. (start: August 2018)
  • Oxford 101: Augmented Reality Tour of Oxford for new and prospective students. Based in the Academic Administration Division Communications. (start: July 2018)
  • Oxford Careers Compass – a web-app for values driven career planning. Based in the Careers Services (start: September 2018)

We will be publishing more information about the projects as they progress.

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IT Innovation Showcase event

More than 20 projects funded by the University’s IT Innovation Challenges scheme displayed their innovative work at the Showcase event last night. The scheme supports projects that bring benefit to the University or enhance the staff or student experience at Oxford through digital means.

visitors at an event with projects stands

Project representatives from initiatives such as Inkpath, go_girl code+create, VESPa, Oxford Alternative Stories, Workplace Finder, VR and AR Oxford Hub and many more were present to show their work and to inspire the use of digital at Oxford. Visitors were keen on learning more about the projects at the numerous stands, during the Flash Talks and the panel discussion. The 3D printing competition was one of many highlights with more than 30 innovative ideas submitted.

The event was very well attended and visitors left extremely positive feedback using Meetoo, an online polling tool. A similar event was highly requested and many felt inspired by the Showcase. The project representatives networked with members of the University. They enjoyed the interest in their work and the positive responses, and many of them would like to participate in a similar event in the future.

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What’s on at the IT Innovation Challenges Showcase event?

Join us for the Showcase event to celebrate the innovative work done by staff and students on projects funded by the University’s IT Innovation Challenges (27 June, 17:00-19:00 at the Mathematical Institute). Please follow the booking link to sign up.

Image by Funky Focus

Meet more than 20 projects 

Talk to representatives, join demos and discover digital applications. This is your chance to find out more about the projects, their impact and how they may benefit you and the University as a whole.

Explore the VR World

Emerging technologies, like VR and AR, continue to surprise us with their endless possibilities. Enter virtual worlds and directly experience the potential of these technologies at Oxford.

Join the 3D printing innovation competition 

Why should you come up with an idea about innovation that can be printed in 3D? Because not only will every entrant be rewarded, but the winner will also get to keep a 3D printed version of his/her innovative idea.

a 3D printed prosthesis of a hand

Image by splotramienny

Be part of Flash Talks

Short and to the point. 5-minute presentations to introduce you to a range of innovative digital projects realised as part of the IT Innovation Challenges during these talks. Projects participating include Self-heal, VESPa, Oxford Alternative Stories and more!

Come to the panel discussion

Top tips from current and past projects. Experiences and insights to inspire and enlighten, and an opportunity for you to ask questions and exchange ideas.


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