Activities > FoAM Kernow > Viruscraft


Viruscraft is a Wellcome Trust funded research project combining tangible interfaces, craft and computer games to explore the work of evolutionary biologist Ben Longdon, who is finding out what determines the ability of a virus to infect some hosts but not others.

You can try out our prototype games and simulations here

Pentakis icosidodecahedron world

Viruses created by players will jump between species on a ‘small planet’ with layers representing ecological niches (treetops, ground, aquatic) populated by different species of interacting hosts. Virus host shifts will depend on the ecological interactions and relatedness of hosts. Players will be able to mutate and compete their viruses to see how natural selection shapes virus evolution.

We launched with a workshop in April 2017 to co-research virus genetics and structure, and use craft approaches to explore ways of building modifiable viral structures for informing the tangible interface design.

The project runs from 2016-2021 and is funded by the Wellcome Trust. Additional funding has been provided by the Cultivator Skills Development Programme (the European Social Fund, Arts Council England and Cornwall Council).

virus module mockups
Pentakis icosidodecahedron world
Pentakis icosidodecahedron world
Pentakis icosidodecahedron world
Pentakis icosidodecahedron world
Pentakis icosidodecahedron world
Pentakis icosidodecahedron world
The great etch (viruscraft rapid prototyping)
The great etch (viruscraft rapid prototyping)
The great etch (viruscraft rapid prototyping)
The great etch (viruscraft rapid prototyping)
viruscraft unplugged
The great etch (viruscraft rapid prototyping)
top view
plug socket detail
side view
viruscraft event 2 poster

Viruscraft: tangible interface electronics

Next up, we needed to get a working prototype of our tangible interface running for the second Viruscraft workshop, so ...

Building Viruscraft planets

This blog post is about the Viruscraft world, how we came up with the idea and populated it with host ...

Viruscraft: Notes from workshop 2

In April, we held our second Viruscraft workshop to begin testing a game and tangible interface that we are making ...

FoAM 02017, in a rearview mirror

In several FoAM studios we hold seasonal observances to celebrate yearly cycles. The beginning of February is one such feast ...

Viruscraft hardware prototyping: etching PCBs

While we experiment with new fabrication techniques in order to shorten supply chains (with a philosophy of collapse in mind ...

Viruscraft prototyping

How do viruses evolve and switch to new hosts? Using virus structure as our basis we're designing a new ...

Viruscraft: Genetic model connected to a tree visualisation

The genetic model we were working on previously has now been ported into a browser compatible form and connected to ...

Getting a feel for tangible interfaces

We have two projects where we’re building tangible interfaces – Penelope and Viruscraft. This blog is an exploration of tangible ...

Viruscraft: building a ‘reasonably accurate’ genetic game world simulation

The concept for the viruscraft game is to have a realtime genetic model or simulation of the host evolution which ...

Viruscraft next steps

Following on from the first viruscraft workshop, we can now start planning the viruscraft game. The field of virology from ...

Viruscraft Workshop 1

The first workshop for Viruscraft is now complete – merging biologists with craft practitioners and researchers, we began to prototype a ...

FoAM digest - Spring 02017

The budding energy of early spring enticed us to bring out some vital news from across the FoAM network. The ...