MXTreality were at this year’s “Big Bang! UK Young scientists & Engineering Fair”. The event is an annual celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths for students across the country. This is all made possible by the collaborative efforts and support of over 100 organisations, of which MXTreality (on behalf of Highways England) were one.

Big Bang is a unique event that incorporates interactive exhibits, careers information and competitions. Allowing students to meet hundreds of scientists, engineers and technologists, and get hands on experience of where STEM studies might lead them in the future. The Fair is free for schools and families to attend and regularly attracts 80,000 visitors and significant national media coverage.

Highways England are perennial supporters of the event. They sought to show the application of STEM subjects in a different light. From discovering the engineering that goes into a Traffic Officer vehicle to learning the maths behind traffic flows to programming robots and importantly for us – exploring virtual worlds. Students got a glimpse of Highways England’s work that they might not otherwise have seen.

We showed off a self-guided laboratory environment, that allowed students to experience engineering collaboration, communication tools and learning and development prototypes in an engaging and immersive way. As is often the case with our VR experiences at such shows, the solution was hugely popular. Queues snaked around the exhibit and as a statement to the usefulness of a tailored User Interface (UI), once the experience finished, the students took the headset off and passed it down the line, one by one. Entirely self-managed, it came in quite handy for those of us staffing the exhibit!

Overall, it was a brilliant day, not only for the students (hopefully!), but for those of us that are advocates of immersive technology and STEM industries more generally.

We’ll be the first back next year.