Crash Bendicoot - An interactive Learning Platform

Communicating Science

Nuclear and Particle Physics is usually taught in terms of abstract concepts in schools and universities. Some of these concepts represent the foundations of modern society and can be challenging to understand. Nowadays, visualization tools and interactive software tools offer a much more detailed and entertaining teaching experience. In particular, some of these concepts could be explained using an environment similar to a video-game that would entertain the student and be educational at the same time.

For this reason, the creation of the *Crash-Bendicoot* (where Bend stands for bending magnet) platform has started. It is currently being developed using *Unity-3D*[1] and *Blender*[2], user friendly and open source software codes commonly used for videogame-development. This platform can give a chance to students to learn a scientific topic interactively, enjoying the experience in the meanwhile. It can import real engineering or physics models (thanks also to the *Pyg4ometry*[3] tool) and output realistic data giving the chance of an authentic "working" experience for students. The advantage of such a platform is that can be easily distributed to students all over the world in a software format, making science truly open and accessible. At the moment a full particle transport beam-line model has been imported in *Unity-3D*, and it was proved that particle collisions and interactions can be simulated in such a game-like environment[4]. 

The basic idea of this hackathon project is to develop a platform  that gives first insight into accelerator physics. Therefore, we plan to show the behavior of simple beam line elements like dipoles, quadrupoles and collimators so that people with no prior knowledge of accelerator physics can experience the basic working principles of a beam line or how a beam line works.

We imported a real CERN-beam line (K12) in *Unity-3D* consisting of a particle source, magnetic components and collimators. There are as well a target and detection system connected to the line. The user can navigate along the beam line and can experience the effect of the different elements on the particle trajectories. There are also different options implemented to tune the strength of the magnets to optimize the particle transmission to the target and detector.

Regarding its applications, this game will be useful for High-School and Undergraduate students to get a first virtual experience on how an actual beam line looks like and how it works. Additionally the platform can be used in public events for outreach in order to get more people in our society interested in science concepts.

Weekend Goals

Create a working prototype of the gaming platform. In particular, examples of next steps that could be taken are: starting game menu, various scenes connections, expansion of ambience, improvement of the magnets and particle beam interaction, create game animations.

Skills being sought

Team-Work, Curiosity, Pro-activeness, Passion for Science Outreach.


3D-modelling, Unity-3D, Blender*,* C#.

/Looking at Unity-3D(Blender, C#)-tutorials before the hackathon start could be helpful. These skills can anyway be developed during the hackathon./

References and background material

Unity-3D,  [1]/

Blender,  [2]/

Pyg4ometry,  [3]/

Current platform in Unity (Requires a Unity account to be played),  [4]/