Eight Newark youngsters enjoyed an exclusive preview of a new Robin Hood experience, part of a world-first, county council-led research project.
And it’s all thanks to Sam Davies, 11, who won a recent competition for him and classmates to trial and give their feedback on a new Robin Hood interactive holographic movie experience, part of unique research to test how 5G technology can boost tourism and the environment in a forest setting.
Nottinghamshire County Council is leading the 5G Connected Forest research, working with leading academic researchers and local businesses, which has been nominated for two national awards.
The experience – known as ‘An Arrow Through Time’ – is being trialled throughout March to gather feedback on the visitor experience, with the aim for it to be made commercially available.
It is one of, if not the world’s first ever interactive holographic movies using multi-media headsets.
The production has been put together by project partner Gooii Ltd and features an exciting cast of actors, including Black Mirror's Dominic Le Moignan as Robin, using a script co-written by BAFTA award-winning CBBC writer and producer Nick Hutchings.
Earlier this year, Sam, from King’s Church of England Primary Academy, won a Nottinghamshire County Council-led competition to name a pioneering robot dog.
Sam named the robot ‘Gizmo’, who he met for first time and also had a go at controlling the robot-shaped dog, via remote control.
Gizmo is trialling how footage gathered from areas, which are usually inaccessible, can help monitor and assess the health and condition of forests, designed by experts from Birmingham City University, as part of the wider 5G Connected Forest project.
"The holographic experience was really cool and very futuristic. I think it would be something a lot of families would like. And I really enjoyed having a go at controlling Gizmo."
One of Sam’s classmates, Spencer Cowlan, 11, added:
"The experience was very cinematic. It was almost like you were there, especially some of the fight scenes with Robin Hood."
Also speaking from Sherwood Forest Country Park, which is managed by RSPB and partners on behalf of the county council, Councillor Keith Girling, chairman of the county council’s Economic Development and Asset Management Committee, said:
"I’m so proud that this world-class research is happening right here in Nottinghamshire. It was wonderful seeing Sam and his classmates being among the first to experience Robin Hood coming to life in way never seen before.
"We have big ambitions to making our county an even more attractive place to visit thanks to the creation of unique visitor experiences such as this, which has the potential to really boost tourism and bring millions to our economy, particularly given the world-wide appeal of Robin Hood.
"And for the project to be shortlisted for two national awards is fantastic news.
"It was great to see our competition winner Sam finally meeting Gizmo the robot dog."
Councillor John Cottee, chairman of the Communities Committee, added:
"Nottinghamshire is once again at the forefront of latest technology, which is very apt given this week is Science Week.
"Despite the last two years, this research project has been progressing behind the scenes to create this amazing experience, which can be enjoyed whether you are seven or 70 years old!
"It not only showcases what an innovative county we are, but we hope a whole new generation will be inspired by our fascinating legends and Gizmo, the forest-protecting robot dog."
Phil Hasted, of Nottingham-based Gooii Ltd, said:
"'An Arrow Through Time' features an amazing cast, a thrilling story, and we can’t wait for the adventure to be opened up to the wider public and visitors, which is the aim after March’s trials are complete.
"The feedback so far has been fantastic. It was great to see and hear the kids get so immersed in the experience."
Deputy Head of King’s Church of England Primary Academy, Collette Jeffery, said:
"It is fantastic that Sam and the children were also able to meet Gizmo the robot dog and be able to see first-hand how important it is to preserve our forests, not only their generation but for future generations.
"This also fits in well with our science week projects which we will be starting next week.
"It might inspire the children to invent their own robots to help protect our community and our planet."
Maid Marion also made an appearance to welcome Sam and his classmates, courtesy of Notts Outdoors, the council’s outdoor and environmental education service.