Manchester Marathon Runners to try New Virtual Reality Lab Tour

Manchester Marathon Runners to try New Virtual Reality Lab Tour

Runners taking part in the Manchester Marathon this weekend (April 10) will be some of the first in the UK to try out a new virtual reality tour of one of Cancer Research UK’s laboratories - as part of a new initiative by the charity aimed at taking research into the community.

 

In a sector first, Cancer Research UK is offering virtual lab tours to supporters, giving them the opportunity to experience meeting scientists and seeing world-class research take place via a pair of virtual reality goggles.

 

The goggles will be available for marathon runners and spectators to try out in the athlete’s village on Sunday (April 10) along with a giant cardboard cut-out of Cancer Research UK scientist Dr Marina Parry, from Didsbury, who narrates the virtual tour.

 

Cancer Research UK announced its collaboration with RedWeb, Vitae VR and Surround Vision to bring virtual reality to the charity world at the end of last year. This is Cancer Research UK’s first foray into the world of virtual reality.

 

The tour, which lasts around three and a half minutes, takes users through four different laboratories, describing the end-to-end journey of research.

 

Moving from basic biology to clinical trials, viewers are immersed in a 360-degree video filmed at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, based at The University of Manchester.

 

Every year Cancer Research UK gives over 12,000 dedicated supporters the opportunity to see inside one of its 20 research centres and institutes. While these tours are incredibly successful, they can only be offered to a limited number of people, which is why the charity has created this virtual tour, giving all supporters the opportunity to see how their money funds life-saving research first-hand. Viewers can also zoom inside a microscope and look at the type of cell samples - from a piece of tissue to inside the nucleus of a single cancer cell –  used to help discover and test new treatments.

 

The tour, which has been tested at a small number of public events since October last year, will eventually be accessible through a free app, which supporters can download to their smart phones.

 

I’ve always been the short-but-loud one so knowing there is going to be a massive cardboard cut-out of me at the Manchester Marathon is priceless!

 

Michael Docherty, director of digital at Cancer Research UK said: “We are hugely excited to be using this virtual reality to bring to life our vital research. Cancer Research UK does not receive any government funding and relies on the generosity of the public to help us bring forward the day when all cancers are cured. This virtual lab tour is another way in which we are bringing the public and our supporters closer to that life-saving research, while continuing to lead the sector in exploring and adopting innovative technology.”

 

Dr Parry, who narrates the tour and lives in Didsbury, said: “I’ve always been the short-but-loud one so knowing there is going to be a massive cardboard cut-out of me at the Manchester Marathon is priceless!

 

“The most important thing however is showcasing the fantastic work we do in at Cancer Research UK here in Manchester, the City of Science 2016, to our amazing supporters. I hope it gives them that little bit more motivation before their gruelling marathon and shows them that the money they raise is making a real difference.”

 

The virtual goggles will also be available for runners to try out at the London Marathon on April 24.

 

@CR_UK | @Marathon_Mcr