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Last Updated: Monday, 26 September 2005, 12:28 GMT 13:28 UK
Egypt Centre to have virtual tomb
Virtual burial chamber
How the Pharaoh's burial chamber looks on Virtual Egypt
A virtual reality pharaoh's tomb is being developed in Swansea so school children can journey to ancient Egypt.

Pupils visiting the Egypt Centre at the city's university will test what they learn in a 3D interactive setting.

Youngsters aged eight and upwards will be asked to solve a series of tasks as they explore the virtual tomb.

Created by locally-based web and 3D animation firm Waters Designs, it will be housed in the 500,000 VR Cave at Technium Digital at the university.

The VR Cave, the only one of its kind in Wales, allows groups of up to six to enter three-dimensional settings.

We checked the accuracy of our design for objects that go inside the tomb with the British Museum
Rachael Wheatley, Waters Designs

Virtual Egypt was a 80,000 project between Waters Designs, the Egypt Centre and the university's school of engineering.

Company director Rachael Wheatley said: "We were asked to design the games and the children have to use their maths, science and basic engineering knowledge to solve them".

The VR Cave is based at the technium which is next door to the Egypt Centre.

Users wear goggles which bring the 3D environment to life.

Funeral mask of a Pharaoh
The project is based on the Egyptian Book of the Dead

They are then immersed in a 3D virtual world in which objects appear to be both in the middle of the room and to extend beyond the walls.

"It's based around the Egyptian Book of the Dead and how the pharaoh was thought to enter the afterlife," said Ms Wheatley.

"We checked the accuracy of our design for objects that go inside the tomb - like scarab brooches and canopic jars - with the British Museum.

"It's aimed at pupils from eight years plus. We are going to be doing some testing with a few schools to make sure that the level of learning is consistent with the children it's aimed at".

Waters Designs is half-way through the 12-month project which it is hoped will be launched in Science Week in March next year.

The virtual cave is used for academic and commercial development at Technium Digital.

There are plans to link it to Blue C super-computer, said to be one of the most powerful of its kind, that will be housed at the university as part of a 50m research centre.

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26 Jul 05 |  South West Wales
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