This week sees the University of Sunderland open up visions of virtual worlds to visitors, and opens a world of knowledge to a forgotten section of society, as part of the 2018 MA Design Degree Show.

Among the work on display is a dinosaur-themed virtual reality museum. Nailah Alam from Newcastle, has created the virtual reality site, where visitors can teleport around the museum, and bring the extinct giants to life.

“My work explores the world of 3D and interactivity in order to enhance the possibilities of learning in a virtual and augmented environment,” says Nailah, 26.

Before beginning her Masters, Nailah worked as a Graphic Designer/Illustrator for a marine conservation charity in Greece, and says the move to a virtual world was a logical next step in her career.

“Virtual and augmented reality was the next step for my work. It was a way for me to enhance my 3D models and bring out more user engagement with my work.”

Her hard work has paid off as she has landed a job as Junior XR Designer/Developer for Hedgehog Lab, a global digital product consultancy with offices in Hyderabad, Copenhagen, Boston and Newcastle
“I’m a part of their XR team which looks after the immersive virtual reality side of things. It’s an exciting time to be a part of this growing sector as there’s so much to look forward to!”

Another student taking a step into a new world is Dina Jing Ding. Dina, originally from China, is working on special teaching tools for visually impaired children.

Her project is applying interactive multimedia technology to create a teaching tool for visually impaired children (ages three to six). There is no Chinese version of Braille, so very young children would have to learn English before they could ‘read’.

The project, which includes the creation of three new products, the PandaE-Book, PandaBun and Panda Laptop stems from Dina’s research with Professor Liu of Beijing Union University.

“Blind children in China do not have early intervention education before going to school, and needed more time to learn after entering school,” says Dina. “Printing books for blind children is complicated, so few books exist on the market. In China, there is only one Braille library in WuHan.

“My project is to design a product suitable for early intervention education for three to six year-old visually impaired children and their families.

“I researched visually impaired children’s tactile and listening responses, and designed something for visually impaired children’s education program, using 3D printing and interactive multimedia features to produce a full range of learning experience books for blind children, including the PandaE-Book, PandaBun and Panda Laptop.”

With her system, visually impaired children can listen to stories, then move on to learning Braille, and features tactile devices to enrich their learning experience.

Dina is now planning to study for a PhD and will continue to work on designs for those in need of support. “I hope to help more special people,” she added.

Nailah and Dina’s work is on display among 12 MA Design graduates at the 2018 Degree Show. Among the other works on display is an exhibition of photographs of 50 women’s breasts and a children’s book that questions stereotypes (with a friendly Big Bad Wolf).

The University of Sunderland 2018 MA Design Degree Show is at Priestman Building, Green Terrace from 20 October – 1 November. All exhibitions are free and open to all.

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