January 16, 2017
Dr Catherine Purcell (Lecturer in Psychology) and Dr Mike Reddy (Senior Lecturer in Computing) have been awarded £67.5k from the Road Safety Trust for a 'proof of concept’ virtual reality (VR) project to develop an innovative game-based road safety education app to be tested in Welsh primary schools.
Road traffic accidents represent the second largest cause of death in children aged 5-14 years worldwide, so the need to teach children how to safely cross the road is vital.
Catherine explained: “The road crossing game will allow children to practice the skills involved in road crossing whilst remaining safely in the classroom, and will provide a cost effective alternative to unsustainable kerbside programmes.”
Dr Purcell’s previous research has demonstrated that 'egocentric’ software, such as first person games that directly simulate immersion in an artificial world, have a greater likelihood of upskilling children in road safety. The proposed approach has considerable potential for widespread use and, if successful, additional funding will be sought to develop it further, with a view to disseminating to schools across the UK. Catherine was pleased to receive the news – “I’m always delighted when my research findings find a practical application and I look forward to working with Dr Reddy’s expertise to design a child friendly road safety education app that can be used in schools”.