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University campus hosts digital treasure hunt

The University of Auckland is the site of a unique digital treasure hunt this week which engages students in a fun interactive game to mark Stress Less Week.

The technology used in the app-based game has been developed by student start-up Shwoop.

The app challenges students to unlock and solve riddles on the City Campus to find secret locations and discover rewards.

Stress Less week is held 7 to 11 October as thousands of students prepare to head into study break and exam period. So far more than 2500 students have signed up to play.

“Fun is the ultimate antidote to stress. We're providing an experience that facilitates getting out and about connecting with peers, before it gets too close to exams and after the mid-semester wave of assignments,” says Jamie McDonald, a 21-year-old Computer Science student and Shwoop founder.

Shwoop is made up of five students and operates from the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE). They are Jamie, Tim Finucane (Software Engineering), Hayden Moore (Computer Science), Russell Bloxwich (Computer Science), and Adrian Hoffmann (Commerce).

Jamie says Shwoop is passionate about using new technologies to turn cities into playgrounds, and has been able to create and experiment with new ideas in the CIE’s Unleash Space, which gives staff and students free access to tools, technology and machinery to build new products.

Here they have developed a portfolio of technologies, from holograms to face-recognition software and transparent glass screens, which they draw on to design interactive games.

Jamie has also connected with some well-known New Zealand brands to seek ways to make customer interactions more meaningful and interactive.

“There are some really exciting ways you can use social media and interactive technology in urban spaces. The most well-known example is the Pokemon Go game, but there is so much more potential to take that technology to another level. We really believe in using technology to get people outside and exploring and connecting with other people face-to-face.”

All of Shwoop’s initiatives require opt-in permission from users, and a lot of emphasis is put on protecting people’s data and privacy.

“Using the campus for a big treasure hunt is a great way for us to test the waters before we put thousands of dollars into more commercial ventures, and scale-up the app to use in different situations,” he adds.

The app is available for download at Players must have a valid University of Auckland email.

Prizes inlcude free coffees and food from campus retailers, lime scooter and Ola credit and electronics from Noel Leeming.

© Scoop Media

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