TWO University of South Wales graduates have created a computer game that replicates a neuroscience laboratory for students.

Jake Spanswick, 25, and Quinn Byron-Dyer, 22, studied computer games design at the university before setting up their company, Blank Pixel Games, last November.

The company will focus on making instructional and educational video games.

The game, which is yet to be titled and is the first from the company, is able to replicate a neuroscience lab accurately after support from Neurosolutions Ltd.

After securing £2,000 from the University of South Wales’ Springboard Start-up Fund, they signed up to the first inter-university bootcamp hosted by entrepreneurial service UNpreneur.

Mr Spanswick said: “The pandemic has resulted in a drop in student numbers across many institutions as pupils consider whether they want to study online, but demand for neuroscientists is growing.


“For students completely new to the field of neuroscience, the pandemic has made it difficult to gain lab experience and, more importantly, learning the scientific techniques.

“Our virtual environment helps students to get familiar with lab techniques, theoretical content, and equipment.

“The benefit of using a virtual lab is less waste, particularly when training students.

“The virtual learning tool means they can reset and learn from their mistakes much sooner and jump straight back into an experiment.

“Teenagers love to game so our products will help to excite pupils about studying neuroscience and support teaching the subject when lab access isn’t possible. 

“This is our first attempt at using our knowledge in video game design to make a virtual learning tool for a highly specialised area of education.

 “However, we hope to apply the same principles to other areas such as Chemical Sciences, Natural Sciences, Engineering and Technology and Physical Sciences.

“Full testing of our neuroscience game starts in September this year”.

The bootcamp was attended by eight universities including the University of South Wales, Sheffield Hallam University, and Birmingham University.

It was fully funded by all the participating universities, so was free for the students and graduates who took part.

The participants attended six weekly two-hour workshops which covered a range of themes, such as how to build and develop a team and how to market products and services.

UNpreneur and lead partner Sheffield Hallam University are already planning an expansion of the bootcamp for 2022, to include more universities and in person delivery.

Darren Chouings, Business Incubation Manager at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “We want to send out a clear message to students and graduates that setting up their own businesses is a feasible and exciting option.

“Together with the team at UNpreneur, who are leaders in student enterprise, we brought together seven other universities across the UK to give students and recent graduates the skills and confidence they need to launch or grow their own companies.

“If you’ve got a great idea for a business and you get the right support then being your own boss is hugely rewarding and a valid alternative to a traditional graduate job.

“The workshops helped students and graduates develop the confidence and gain the skills needed to launch or grow a business venture”.