Scientists allow public to gain insight into their work with virtual tour amid coronavirus lockdown
- Credit: Archant
Scientists in Cambridge have helped create a virtual tour to allow the public to gain an insight into their work amid the coronavirus lockdown.
The Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute has teamed up with Google Expeditions to open its doors through the Google Expeditions app.
Through the app, visitors can see what goes on within the institute through virtual reality 360-degree photo scenes, allowing users to see a snapshot from scenes such as a tour of the labs, as well as seeing scientists at work from the comfort of their own home.
Professor Greg Hannon, director of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, said: “This experience can provide insight into the journey of patient samples from the clinic to use in life-saving research.
“These kinds of virtual experiences not only broaden the audience for an educational opportunity but are especially important now when actual visits are not possible.”
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Available on smartphone and tablet, each scene has a brief overview and ‘highlighted’ points of interest inside each room for the public to explore, alongside frequently asked questions and how the institute works closely with the city’s Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
Established in 2007, the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute was the first new major cancer research centre in the UK for over 50 years and is now known as one of the best and largest cancer research facilities in Europe.
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The Institute is one of four Cancer Research UK Institutes, receiving £22.9 million a year in funding.
Branwen Brockley, scientific communications lead at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, who helped set up the virtual tour, said: “It’s important that people see what we do here, how the money we are given is spent and how our research is making a difference to patients’ lives.
“We wanted a tour that we could take out to the public, especially as our lab tours are quite time consuming to set up and we can only allow over 16s in. Google Expeditions was a handy app, that while promoted for use in classrooms with schoolchildren, can be used by anyone.
“In future, we hope to take this to science festivals, school visits, and supporter events to allow people to see the range of techniques and settings being used within a single cancer research institute.
“We hope our virtual tour will allow people to take a look inside this institute, while gaining a better understanding of the work that we do here.”
To view the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute tour, search for ‘Cancer Research’ in the Google Expeditions app.