A video game which teaches players the latest dance moves has been developed with help from a Ph.D student at Aberystwyth University. Dance:UK, which hit the shops last week and includes music by pop acts such as Mis-Teeq and Sugababes, features a series of screen-based dance routines which players copy by boogying on a pressure-sensitive mat. Dr Baihua Li, who has just been awarded her Ph.D, worked on human motion recognition technology in the computer science department, and collaborated with the makers of Dance:UK, Aberystwyth-based computer game company Broadsword Interactive. "Professional dancers came to our lab and we stuck about 35 highly reflective little balls on each of them," says Dr Li. Seven special cameras were then mounted to the ceiling to record the dancer's moves. This "motion capture data" was processed by Dr Li to enable the game makers to make realistic dancing figures. A demonstration of the game, which incorporates a karaoke element, may be viewed at www.danceuk-thegame.com.
* The rights of vulnerable people will be studied on a new postgraduate course, Social and Health Care Law in Practice and Advocacy Studies, at Warwick University from April. It has been set up partly in response to recent government policy on advocacy for those with psychiatric, health and learning difficulties, says course leader Dr Janet Read. Run jointly by Warwick's health and social studies and law departments, it's a highly flexible course aimed at busy lawyers and health and social care managers and practitioners. Each module is made up of two three-day sessions of intensive university-based study, plus project work linked to the student's job. All modules lead to a Warwick Graduate Award and can be taken singly or built up to a certificate, diploma or masters qualification. "We have made the modules short and fat to fit in with people's jobs," says Dr Read. "People often drop out of professional development courses and we don't want that to happen here." The course aims to be relevant to students' workplaces, says Dr Read. "A health care manager might, as a project, do an audit of their workplace to see how well it observes the human rights act. It could be that practices which are good in terms of health and safety - such as using mechanical hoists to bathe elderly people to prevent staff injuries - may be experienced by the client as degrading, and need to be refined."
* What does the Bible have to say about consumerism, freedom and green issues? A new masters course at St Andrew's University, Bible and the Contemporary World, offers some answers. Bringing divinity bang-up-to-date, it will be taught almost entirely via the web, including live online tutorials and seminars. Bangor University, meanwhile, is offering a new doctorate of ministry, for practising clergy.Reuse content