Man wearing VR headset in a simulated room

Swansea University has teamed up with an immersive tech firm to create a new virtual reality experience designed to inspire the next generation to pursue a career in STEM subjects.

The partnership with Swansea-based Imersifi is particularly geared to highlighting the opportunities in the semiconductor industry.

This industry plays a vital role in today’s technology, powering many of the devices we use in our everyday lives. The VR application has been created to help explain more about the industry in a fun and engaging way.

It takes users on a journey through realistic environments modelled on Swansea University’s facilities, complete with a robot character guide, fun voiceover, and animation. The interactions are simple and intuitive, making the experience accessible for youngsters.

Users will be guided through a clean room gowning experience followed by an introduction to the lithography process (how device patterns are written on to a semiconductor wafer). This allows students to learn about how semiconductors are made and the important role they play in society.

From smartphones and laptops to cars and medical equipment, semiconductors are an essential component of modern technology. The industry is constantly evolving and growing, and there is a significant demand for skilled professionals to help drive innovation.

However, getting young people interested in careers in the semiconductor industry can be a challenge and the team behind the app say that’s where this collaboration can help.

Joe Charman, Imersifi co-founder said: “We hope this experience will inspire children to consider careers in STEM subjects and open up the world of opportunities that the semiconductor industry has to offer.

“It’s a unique approach in educating the next generation about the significance of a pivotal industry and we’re looking forward to seeing the impact it will have and how different schools and organizations use it.”

Professor Owen Guy, from the University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering, said: “The VR game is a fantastic way of engaging with people of all ages and demystifying the amazing semiconductor technologies that power everything from our smartphones to electric vehicles and satellites.

“It will also signpost the growing career opportunities in the expanding semiconductor industry in South Wales.”

The collaboration has also seen the University to work with regional rugby team Dragons RFC by providing a VR headset, loaded with the Learn Lithography app, for the winner of its highly successful eSports competition.

Find out more about Swansea University’s research: Semiconductors – the Beating Heart of Net Zero Technologies

*To try the app for free go to the official PICO store and from the home menu, navigate to the App Store, search for the application Learn Lithography and select it. Once the download is complete, the installation will start automatically. After the installation, the app will appear in your library and you can launch it.

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