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(Top) Professor Stone poses with the Cubs after handing out badges; (Bottom Left) Professor Stone interacts with the cubs; (Bottom Right) Close up of the Virtual Reality Badge handed out during the ceremony

On 20 July, Birmingham Professor Bob Stone presented members of the Bengal Cubs of the 1st Shirley Scout Group with the world’s first Cubs badge for achievement in Virtual Reality, at a special presentation ceremony held at the Cub’s Headquarters in Solihull.

Professor Stone, who leads the University of Birmingham's Human Interface Technologies (HIT) Team, joined forces with the Bengal Cubs and their leaders to demonstrate a range of Virtual and Augmented Reality and projects for healthcare, heritage and education.

The badges were awarded in recognition of the positive way the cubs had explored Virtual and Augmented Reality applications and the posters they prepared after the event, illustrating their ideas for a future “Virtual Reality Land” or application. Cubs and Scouts are awarded badges to show their progress in existing pursuits, but also to show participation in undertaking different tasks or learning new skills.

Professor Stone, who personally designed the new VR badges, said: “Coming soon after a similar event, where we presented badges to the Brownies and Guides in Saltash, Cornwall, it was a real pleasure to be able to put on a VR event here in the West Midlands. The Cubs were really enthusiastic about our real-world demos, having only really ever heard about VR as a form of game, from online and TV sources”.

Launched in 2003 by Professor Bob Stone, the Human Interface Technologies Team (HIT) has pioneered the development, evaluation and uptake of Virtual Reality technologies across heritage, military, healthcare and aerospace sectors.