Mixed Reality Laboratory
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Interactive Works » 2009 — 2005

View works from 2009 2008 2007 2005 Earlier



ExoBuilding explores the novel design space that emerges when an individual’s physiological data and the fabric of building architecture are linked.  In its current form ExoBuilding is a tent-like structure that externalises a person’s physiological data in an immersive and visceral way. This is achieved by mapping abdominal breathing to its shape and size, displaying heart beat through sound and light effects and mapping electro dermal activity to a projection on the tent fabric.


Holger Schnädelbach, Physiological Data in Adaptive Architecture. 2011. In International Conference on Adaptive Architecture.

Holger Schnädelbach, Kevin Glover, and Ainojie Alexander Irune. 2010. ExoBuilding: breathing life into architecture. In Proceedings of the 6th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction: Extending Boundaries (NordiCHI '10). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 442-451. https://doi.org/10.1145/1868914.1868965



Ulrike and Eamon Compliant 

Commissioned by the De La Warr Pavilion for the Venice Biennale, Ulrike And Eamon Compliant is a game that places each participant at the centre of a world of bank robbings, assassinations and betrayals. Assume the role of Ulrike or Eamon and make a walk through the city while receiving phone calls. The project is based on real world events and is an explicit engagement with political questions. What are our obligations to act on our political beliefs? And what are the consequences of taking those actions?


Peter Tolmie, Steve Benford, Martin Flintham, Patrick Brundell, Matt Adams, Nicholas Tandavantij, Ju Row Far, and Gabriella Giannachi. 2012. "Act natural": instructions, compliance and accountability in ambulatory experiences. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '12). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1519-1528. https:/doi.org/10.1145/2207676.2208616





Discover the Nottingham you didn't know on a guided tour where you are the guide. Unlock unknown spaces and overhear stories these spaces tell. Anywhere Somewhere Everywhere is  an interactive conversation with new technology from fingerprint to footprint – between the visitor and the visited, past and present, private and public. It allows participants to explore an urban area, tying together information not normally available, new points of views and interaction embedded into physical places. Guided by ‘unseen’, on-the-street performers in an ongoing conversation maintained over mobile phones, they gained access to locative media and staged performances.

Created in collaboration of Willi Dorner and the Department of Architecture at The University of Nottingham.

Ben Bedwell, Holger Schnädelbach, Steve Benford, Tom Rodden, and Boriana Koleva. 2009. In support of city exploration. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '09). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1171-1180. https://doi.org/10.1145/1518701.1518879


Day of the Figurines

Day Of The Figurines is a massively multiplayer game for text messaging, set in a fictional town that is littered, dark and underpinned with steady decay. The game unfolds over a total of 24 days, each day representing an hour in the life of the town as it shifts from the mundane to the cataclysmic: the local vicar opens a summer fete, Scandinavian death metallists play a gig at the Locarno that goes horribly wrong while an Arabic speaking army appears on the High Street. How players respond to these events and to each other creates and sustains a community during the course of a single day in the town.



Fairground Thrill Laboratory 

Three classic British fairground rides - the Miami Trip, the Ghost Train and the Booster; along with an international team of artists, scientists, performers, technologists, psychologists and showmen; and a carnival of experimentation, food, drink, performance, film, music and discussion, form the Fairground Thrill Laboratory.

Visitors ride the rides hooked up to a telemetry system - specially developed  by  Aerial leading a task force of collaborators - which includes a heart-rate monitor, accelerometer and video camera. Physiological data and facial expressions are captured and beamed live into the laboratory and onto the side of the museum building for audience analysis and delectation.


Holger Schnädelbach, Stefan Rennick Egglestone, Stuart Reeves, Steve Benford, Brendan Walker, and Michael Wright. 2008. Performing thrill: designing telemetry systems and spectator interfaces for amusement rides. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '08). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1167-1176. https://doi.org/10.1145/1357054.1357238

Brendan Walker, Holger Schnädelbach, Stefan Rennick Egglestone, Angus Clark, Tuvi Orbach, Michael Wright, Kher Hui Ng, Andrew French, Tom Rodden, and Steve Benford. 2007. Augmenting amusement rides with telemetry. In Proceedings of the international conference on Advances in computer entertainment technology (ACE '07). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 115-122. https://doi.org/10.1145/1255047.1255070



Love City

Love City is the new mobile phone game supported by Three Cities Create and Connect. Players send messages of Love between Derby, Leicester and Nottingham to build a digital city in the palm of their hand. The innovative artwork created by Active Ingredient in collaboration with Mixed Reality Lab, University of Nottingham, will raise heart rates and eyebrows across the East Midlands.

Three partner venues, Broadway in Nottingham, Phoenix in Leicester and QUAD in Derby are at the beating heart of Love City. For 28 days of romantic mobile phone antics, Love City will make these venues blush and take to the cities’ streets. Promotional trailers for the game blur with rules of this virtual world as the game visits each city for a one night stand – Love City Live.

Chris Greenhalgh, Steve Benford, Adam Drozd, Martin Flintham, Alastair Hampshire, Leif Oppermann, Keir Smith, and Christoph Von Tycowicz. 2007. Addressing mobile phone diversity in ubicomp experience development. In International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 447-464.



MobiMissions is a game in which players use camera smart phones to create, complete and document real-world missions. The content and purpose of missions is left open-ended for players to define for themselves, each mission being defined by up to five photographs and/or five sections of text. A player creates a mission by using their phone to take a series of photographs and enter text instructions, and then drops the mission from their phone. The mission remains where it was dropped until it is found and picked up by another player (location being determined by the mobile phone’s cell ID).

Players can search their current location to find missions which they can then choose to pick up, at which point the mission is transferred to their phone (figure 6). As a player carries out a mission (potentially over several sessions of play) they document their progress by capturing up to five photographs and adding short text annotations. When they are happy with their response they submit it, which causes their response to be uploaded to the game server and the mission to be dropped from their phone. They also rate how good the mission was.



Prof. Tanda's Guess-a-Ware

Prof. Tanda is a mixture of a game and survey and is intended to engage players during their daily routines, providing them with amusement and information in return for data about their lifestyle, environmental actions and attitudes. This information is then sifted and fed back to the public by broadcasters and campaign organisations.

Prof. Tanda is played up to twice each day for about ten minutes per session. The game is embodied through a quirky character called Professor Tanda who contacts the player, tries to guess where they are and what they might be doing, asks them questions and even gets them to undertake simple activities and experiments such as measuring the amount of water that they use when taking a shower by leaving the plug in the bath.

A distinctive feature of Professor Tanda is the way in which he tries to guess a player’s current context whenever he contacts them. This draws on the time of day and also on handset location (cell ID). For example, if a player tells the game that they are at home in one session, then the game will associate “home” with the time and logged cell ID of that session and use this information to tailor subsequent sessions.

Prof. Tanda's Guess-A-Ware


Alan Chamberlain, Steve Benford, Chris Greenhalgh, Alastair Hampshire, Nick Tandavanitj, Matt Adams, Amanda Oldroyd, and Jon Sutton. 2007. Professor Tanda: greener gaming & pervasive play. In Proceedings of the 2007 conference on Designing for User eXperiences (DUX '07). ACM, New York, NY, USA, Article 26 , 16 pages. https://doi.org/10.1145/1389908.1389942

Michael Wright, Alan Chamberlain, Chris Greenhalgh, Steve Benford, Nick Tandavanitj, Amanda Oldroyd, and Jon Sutton. 2007. 'Guess a who, why, where, when?': the visualization of context data to aid the authoring and orchestration of a mobile pervasive game. In Proceedings of the 2007 OTM confederated international conference on On the move to meaningful internet systems - Volume Part I (OTM'07), Robert Meersman, Zahir Tari, and Pilar Herrero (Eds.), Vol. Part I. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, 203-210.



Rider Spoke

Developing from works such as Uncle Roy All Around You, Rider Spoke invites the audience to cycle through the streets of the city, equipped with a handheld computer. You search for a hiding place and record a short message there. And then you search for the hiding places of others.Visitors ride the rides hooked up to a telemetry system - specially developed  by  Aerial leading a task force of collaborators - which includes a heart-rate monitor, accelerometer and video camera. Physiological data and facial expressions are captured and beamed live into the laboratory and onto the side of the museum building for audience analysis and delectation.

The audience can take part either either on your own bike or borrow one supplied by Blast Theory. Following a short introduction and a safety briefing you head out into the streets with a handheld computer mounted on the handlebars. You are given a question and invited to look for an appropriate hiding place where you will record your answer. The screen of the device acts primarily as a positioning system, showing where you are and whether there are any hiding places nearby. The interface employs imagery drawn from Mexican votive painting, sailor tattoos and heraldry: swallows flutter across the screen to show available hiding places, prefab houses indicate places where others have hidden.


Gabriella Giannachi, Duncan Rowland, Steve Benford, Jonathan Foster, Matt Adams, and Alan Chamberlain. 2010. Blast Theory's Rider Spoke, its documentation and the making of its replay archive.  Contemporary Theatre Review 20, no. 3. 353-367. https://doi.org/10.1080/10486801.2010.489047

Leif Oppermann, Martin Flintham, Stuart Reeves, Steve Benford, Chris Greenhalgh, Joe Marshall, Matt Adams, Ju Row Farr, and Nick Tandavanitj. 2011. Lessons from touring a location-based experience. In International Conference on Pervasive Computing. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 232-249. https://doi.org/10871/17764

Alan Chamberlain, Leif Oppermann, Martin Flintham, Steve Benford, Peter Tolmie, Matt Adams, Ju Row Farr, Nick Tandavanitj, Joe Marshall, and Tom Rodden. 2011. Locating experience: touring a pervasive performance. Personal Ubiquitous Comput. 15, 7 (October 2011), 717-730. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00779-010-0351-3.

Rowan Wilken. 2013. Proximity and Alienation: Narratives of City, Self, and Other in the Locative Games of Blast Theory. In The Mobile Story: Narrative Practices with Locative Technologies. Routledge, New York.



Thrill Laboratory: Oblivion

In a follow-on project to Fairground Thrill Laboratory, Brendan Walker and the Mixed Reality Lab collaborated to bring Thrill Laboratory to Alton Tower's Oblivion, the world's first vertical drop roller coaster.




Flypad is a public exhibit and game making use of augmented reality produced in partnership with artist group Blast Theory. It involves players flying their avatar around a space, and attempting to hold on to other avatars. These avatars also have particular resting positions and ways of moving when the player interacts with the footpad. The look and feel has been influenced by the Peking Opera, Mexican wrestling, facemasks from various places (e.g., Native American masks), and skydiving. 

Martin Flintham, Stuart Reeves, Patrick Brundell, Tony Glover, Steve Benford, Duncan Rowland, Boriana Koleva, Chris Greenhalgh, Matt Adams, Nick Tandavanitj, and Ju Row Farr. Flypad: Designing trajectories in a large-scale permanent augmented reality installation. 2011. In Proceedings of the 12th European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (ECSCW 2011). Springer London, 233-252.

View works from 2009 2008 2007 2005 Earlier


Mixed Reality Laboratory

University of Nottingham
School of Computer Science
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

telephone: +44 (0) 115 846 6780
email: mrl@cs.nott.ac.uk