15 October 2020
The Natural History Museum and Science Museum Group partner to support the launch of free cutting-edge apps for children, in innovative response to coronavirus.
Two augmented reality mobile apps give access to fun science-based learning about dinosaurs and robots from home.
Two of the UK’s most iconic museum groups have joined forces with leading immersive content studio, Factory 42, to support the launch of two new fun science-based learning apps as they explore how science and culture can also be accessed digitally during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The My Dino Mission AR and My Robot Mission AR apps are created by 42 Kids, a newly launched children’s and learning division of Factory 42 in partnership with the Science Museum Group, Natural History Museum, Sky and Almeida Theatre. The apps use cutting-edge AR technology and graphics enabling children to use their own reasoning to interact with, identify and care for a dinosaur species; and to create their own robots suited for different terrains and challenges.
The apps are narrated by popular science presenters Maddie Moate and Greg Foot, known for engaging kids with science via platforms including the BBC and YouTube.
The new collaboration is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and explores new types of digital, home based cultural and learning experiences as part of the Boundless Creativity programmes, a major new campaign created and supported by UKRI’s Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The apps represent a new ‘pivot approach’ to collaborations for both museums in response to the pandemic, by exploring digital, home based alternatives to location-based experiences that were originally due to premiere across 2020. The Science Museum Group has partnered on My Robot Mission AR – a skills-based app for 10-12 year olds, while the Natural History Museum is partnering with My Dino Mission AR, which encourages 7-10 year olds to identify, feed and photograph a young dinosaur.
Alex Burch, Head of Public Programmes at the Natural History Museum said, “We’re delighted to be collaborating across industry to explore new, innovative technology in these unprecedented times, whilst continuing to provide our young audiences a window into the world of dinosaurs.”
John Stack, Digital Director, Science Museum Group said, “We want as many young people as possible to be inspired by the creativity and wonder of science. Through gameplay and immersive technologies, problem solving skills can be nurtured and curiosity can be ignited about the world of science, technology and engineering.”
John Cassy, Founder and CEO of Factory 42, added, “With museums having to adapt to the challenges of the pandemic, we are proud to have responded by very rapidly developing a playful, creative and innovative way for children to engage with and learn about science from home. We are very grateful to Innovate for its support in enabling Factory 42 to expand and begin innovating in the fast-growing children's interactive content market. New immersive technologies like augmented reality provide an incredible opportunity to think differently about how to introduce young audiences to science and the natural world and we hope children will enjoy the experiences the apps offer. ”
UK Research and Innovation challenge director, Andrew Chitty, said: “The Covid pandemic has been an enormous challenge to all of the Audience of the Future projects who were planning live experiences during 2020. The My Dino Mission AR and My Robot Mission AR augmented reality apps demonstrate the incredible agility, creativity and innovation needed to meet that challenge by creating experiences that can reach new audiences at home. Live experiences will return but our world class creative industries have shown they can continue to create striking new ones to captivate the public’s imagination and help grow the UK’s global, market-leading position in creative content whatever the circumstances. And it’s just one of the ways in which we’re investing for impact.”
Maddie Moate YouTuber and BAFTA winning presenter said “I am on a mission to spark curiosity about the wonders of science and technology learning. So I’m thrilled to have narrated these fun, new apps that bring children closer to the fascinating worlds of dinosaurs and robotics. ”
Greg Foot, BBC science broadcaster and popular YouTuber commented “I’m so excited about these innovative AR apps and it’s a pleasure to have my voice as part of them! They give children the opportunity to put themselves in the shoes of engineers and palaeontologists and experience how they go about inventing and discovering"
Both apps are available to download from the AppStore as well as Google Play at the links below:
What each app does
About My Dino Mission AR
My Dino Mission AR is aimed at the 7-10-year-old age group and enables budding young palaeontologists to help a stranded dinosaur get back to its own time period many millions of years ago. Combining the latest augmented reality technology with STEM skills, children can recognise a dinosaurs’ species, what it eats, likes and needs to survive. Young explorers can care for and capture fun photos of themselves interacting with their new dinosaur friend in the backdrop of their home or back garden.
About My Robot Mission AR
My Robot Mission AR is a new skills-building app aimed at 10-12-year-olds, encouraging them to think like a real scientist. Combining a series of fun challenges and the latest augmented reality technology, players create robots ready to operate in simulated environments, from deserts to snowy mountainous terrain, to help overcome future world problems. Budding engineers can take their robot through its paces within the backdrop of their home or back garden, honing problem-solving skills in the process.
Notes for editors
Science Museum Group Tel: 020 7942 4886 / 07894 317849 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Natural History Museum Tel: 020 7942 5654/07799 690151 Email: email@example.com
Factory 42: Gabby Bennett Tel: 07711 442 528 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Factory 42 is a multi-award winning immersive content and experience studio on a mission to reimagine entertainment. We mix the best talents from the worlds of film, television, games and performance with the smartest technical minds to deliver premium experiences across virtual reality, augmented reality, and other forms of immersive content. Credits include the critically acclaimed Hold the World with David Attenborough VR experience enabling audiences to explore unique aspects of the Natural History Museum’s collections, as well as Painting the Future in partnership with the Royal Academy which won Best VR Experience at the Broadcast Digital Awards, and an immersive version of English National Ballet’s acclaimed Giselle choreographed by Akram Khan. 42 Kids is a newly launched kids content studio enabling it to focus efforts on creating immersive content for the digital educational market, across all age ranges and subject areas.
About the Science Museum Group
The Science Museum Group is the world’s leading alliance of science museums, welcoming over five million visitors each year to five sites: the Science Museum in London; the National Railway Museum in York; the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester; the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford; and Locomotion in Shildon.
We share the stories of innovations and people that shaped our world and are transforming our futures, constantly reinterpreting our astonishingly diverse collection of 7.3 million items spanning science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. Tracing its origins back to the 1851 Great Exhibition, the collection tells the story of our world—from the rise of the Indus Valley civilisation over 3,000 years ago to the microchips powering our connected planet today.
Our mission is to inspire futures - igniting curiosity among people of all ages and backgrounds. Each year, our museums attract more than 600,000 visits by education groups, while our touring exhibition programme and websites bring our creativity and scholarship to audiences across the globe.
About the Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is both a world-leading science research centre and the most visited natural history museum in Europe. With a vision of a future in which both people and the planet thrive, it is uniquely positioned to be a powerful champion for balancing humanity’s needs with those of the natural world.
It is custodian of one of the world’s most important scientific collections comprising over 80 million specimens. The scale of this collection enables researchers from all over the world to document how species have and continue to respond to environmental changes - which is vital in helping predict what might happen in the future and informing future policies and plans to help the planet.
The Museum’s 300 scientists continue to represent one of the largest groups in the world studying and enabling research into every aspect of the natural world. Their science is contributing critical data to help the global fight to save the future of the planet from the major threats of climate change and biodiversity loss through to finding solutions such as the sustainable extraction of natural resources.
The Museum uses its enormous global reach and influence to meet its mission to create advocates for the planet - to inform, inspire and empower everyone to make a difference for nature. We welcome over five million visitors each year, our digital output reaches hundreds of thousands of people in over 200 countries each month and our touring exhibitions have been seen by around 30 million people in the last 10 years.
About Almeida Theatre
The Almeida Theatre makes brave new work that asks big questions: of plays, of theatre and of the world around us. It brings together the most exciting artists to take risks; to provoke, inspire and surprise audiences; to interrogate the present, dig up the past and imagine the future.
Since 2013, the Almeida has been led by Artistic Director Rupert Goold. Notable recent productions include Ink directed by Goold (also Broadway), Associate Director Rebecca Frecknall’s production of Summer & Smoke (winner of Best Play Revival and Best Actress at the 2019 Olivier Awards) and Robert Icke’s productions of Hamlet (also screened on the BBC) and Mary Stuart and his production of The Doctor transfers to the Duke of York’s Theatre in 2021. The Almeida was named London Theatre of the Year at The Stage Awards in both 2015 and 2018.
Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the theatre is currently temporarily closed.
About Audience of the Future
The £33m Audience of the Future challenge fund brings together creative businesses, researchers and technology experts to create striking new experiences that will captivate the public’s imagination. It is part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, which brings together the UK’s world leading research with business to meet the major industrial and societal challenges of our time. The fund is part of the government’s £4.7 billion increase in research and development over the next 4 years. It was designed to ensure that research and innovation takes centre stage in the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy. It is run by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
UK Research and Innovation is a new body which works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. We aim to maximise the contribution of each of our component parts, working individually and collectively. We work with our many partners to benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas.