Exploring Mobility, Chatbots, Blockchain and Augmented Reality solutions in the Cloud to re-imagine Education & Research


Kevin Roebuck
Director, Digital Experience

MERTL is the chosen acronym for the new Mixed Reality Environment for Teaching and Learning project with Sunlabs, Essex University and Shanghai Jiaotong University to build and demonstrate an international virtual classroom for the World Exposition in Shanghai in the summer of 2010. It's all built on Darkstar, Wonderland and Sunpot and available as a community source project. Here's the current project plan:

Mixed Reality Environment for Teaching and Learning

Outline Plan – 5th October 2007

Project Plan:


  • Familiarize with Wonderland/MPK20 software
  • Install on development server
  • Create starting point world based on MPK20
  • Milestone: 3d model of lecture room
  • Create software repository
  • Create project Wiki containing plans and project artifacts


  • Develop customised avatars for project team members
  • Create simple virtual lecture room space
  • Milestone: machinima video of lecture room in Wonderland as seen by regular avatar
  • Create dummy avatar representing the physical viewer
  • Milestone: photo of virtual lecture room as seen by physical viewier
  • Milestone: machinima video of lecture room as seen from physical room


  • Audio-bridge enable the world
  • Milestone: users are able to conduct audio conversations in the lecture room and between the lecture room and the physical room


  • Provide video input to world
  • Milestone: users are able to see a video of the physical room from within the virtual room


  • Enable avatars to manifest emotional state and provide consolidated feedback to the teacher
  • Milestone: avatar displays emotional state based on input from user
  • Dialogue to agree deployment/evaluation plan
  • Mid-term report
  • Deploy alpha version at Essex and SJTU
  • Milestone: documentation of deployment (photo’s etc)

May – August

  • Re-plan to prioritise further refinement of the space and capabilities of the site (eg. audio, video, emotional state, virtual meeting room)
  • Deployment and initial testing at SJTU
  • Wider dissemination and engagement with the Darkstar/Wonderland community


  • Final deployment and testing at SJTU
  • Evaluation plan completed
  • Final report
  • On-going Community Development

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