#1 Geophys in Action #3

Welcome to Invisible Buildings



If you are thinking of running Invisible Buildings for a group of children, you will find all the instructions you need here.


You are ready to start playing a game of Invisible Buildings. Not so fast! Have a little look here to help you get going.


Let us create a custom game for the outside part of your museum, stately home, or historic site. Find out more here.

What We Do

Invisible Buildings was created for children aged from 7-9 with a grant from the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) in conjunction with Brighton University. It was designed as a way of introducing the curriculum subject – The Romans,  allowing children to discover and dig up a Roman villa from the comfort of their own playing field (and without having to lift a spade).

Since our first prototype, the game (or more correctly a simulation) has been played by over 2000 children, and as we have refined the technology it has become even easier to adopt. Furthermore we have dramatically cut the costs of playing and can now be delivered for as little as £1 per child. In addition to the historical and archaeological aspects of Invisible Buildings, children learn about technology, geography and mapping, and (unitentionally on our part) ways of working in teams.

Apart from our Roman game, we have developed similar themes on Victorian Explorers and the hidden buildings of Lewes Priory. There are more games in development. Invisible Building currently runs on Android tablets fitted with GPS (for example, Google Nexus 7, Samsung Galaxy Tab and Tesco HUDL. Other models may work as will some Android Smartphones).


The Games


Aim: To set up the playing area. One moves first to the NW corner of the field, and then to the SE. The compass gives you an indication of the direction you have to travel in. Having set the coordinate, the players then mark 8 points (coloured dots) of interest.

Why: Different sites will have different areas and as the game uses GPS navigation, it is important to register where we are. In order to orientate ourselves, we put markers by real world items, e.g trees, paths (or this could be physically marked out with cones). Also doing this will ensure that everything is working on the tablet as it should

Archaeology: One always begins a “dig” with marking out the area that one is working in. More info here.

General: Note the display to the right of the map. It indicate who should be playing, current score, time remaining in this section of the game, scores of all team member, a progress bar of how far through the game we are, and finally a square indicating GPS signal quality (Green: good / Yellow: ok / Red: poor)

(A note about the videos: these are temporary whilst we are updating both the website and the software. Done on a very windy day, hence the noise. Also an element of jerkiness is caused by running the screen capture software at the same time as the game)

Aim: To find metal objects that are on or just under the ground. As you get closer to an object the warmometer will give an indication of how close you are – redder means closer and bluer means further away. Bleeping sounds will indicate you are going in the correct direction. A “hallelujah” will indicate that you have found an object. See what it is and then tap the screen to continue. Use the metal detector instrument connected to the tablet to make everything work.

Why: Quite often, we want to try and establish that a certain type of find is in the area. E.g. if we find evidence of Roman coins then it may be that there was a Roman settlement here.

Archaeology: Quite often a site is discovered by the use of metal detectors – either as part of a dig or earlier by enthusiasts stumbling across finds. As such it is an important technique and one that can be used by anyone.

Aim: If you have found objects in the metal detector game, then you have to sort them into “interesting” which you take to the finds tent and “junk” which goes to the bit. In order to move objects (it is a bit like drag and drop), run to an object and touch the screen. It will then move as you move and so you can drag it to, e.g. the bin. When you are there, touch the screen again, to deposit. Use the Sorting Assembly, attached to the tablet, to help you do this properly.

Aim: You now have to find a building (or the ruins of one) that may or may not be buried somewhere on the pitch. We have made things a little easier for you, so aim for the first blue spot, and then when you reach it, another will appear. Keep doing this and I think you will be in for a pleasant surprise! In order to do this properly, you will need to attach the tablet to the geophys equipment.

Aim: I bet you would like to start digging up your field now. Unfortunately this is not a good idea, but I think we have something better. Our friend, the Mole is going to dig down into the ground and if there is anything there he will lift it to the surface. Make the mole dig by running round in circles: the faster you move, the quicker he will dig. We have created a special pipe-boring tool and you will need to connect the tablet to this, for the game to work.


Aim: Now that you have excavated some objects, you will need to take them (using the same method as in the Squirrel Sort) to the assembly area. Exactly what you do will depend on which game you are playing. For some games you will make a reconstruction of the building in the designated area. In others you might have to take object to different destinations. We will give you more instructions on the tablet.








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