Erica the Rhino Comes to Southampton

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Erica the Rhino has escaped the wild and she’s on the World
Wide Web…

You’re probably wondering who on earth Erica is and how she’s managed to escape the wild? Well, in truth, she’s not a real rhino. She is one of many, life-sized, fibreglass models created by Marwell Zoo in celebration of their 40th anniversary, but Erica is unique…

Marwell Wildlife is bringing ‘Go! Rhinos’, a mass, world-class public art exhibition, to the streets and parks of Southampton for 10 weeks this summer.

From the 13th July till the 22nd September, rhino sculptures will trail all over the city, demonstrating the artistic talent that Southampton has to offer. Over the last few months, a variety of local organisations have agreed to sponsor a Rhino and are in the process of painting them with their very own look and feel.

The ECS department (Electronics and Computer Science), here at the University of Southampton are taking it one step further! With permission from Marwell Zoo, the ECS tech team has been given a unique opportunity to fully customise Erica, equipping her with digital features. Over the course of the next 3 months, the tech teams will be working hard to digitize her from top to bottom with a whole range of cool, interactive features. To name but a few: she’ll have camera-lens eyes to enable her to interact with people passing by, a light up horn, a clever brain that interacts with her environment and learns behaviours and much more.There are all sorts of developments in progress so be sure to head over to the site.

erica

She will be in the city centre over the summer months where you can meet her in person and witness some state-of-the-art technology that we’re developing here at the university. Although you can’t see her just yet, you can follow her journey throughout the tech transformation and keep up with all her progress. If you’re interested, we’d love for you to see some of the stuff we’ve done already and there’s a whole load of cool content that we’ve uploaded.

Our website is the single best place for you to engage with Erica – every Wednesday a new blog post is released showcasing Erica’s tech progress. Right now, she’s been painted by our very own artist; a talented student at Winchester School of Art and we’ve been capturing and blogging about her transformation. Facebook is the go to place for live updates and through Twitter you can meet and engage with Erica herself!

Check out our Instagram profile for the full set of photos and don’t forget to head over to Youtube for some video interviews with the talented team. Head over to the www.ericatherhino.org for more information on Erica’s interactive features and watch this space! Please like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and above all, share with your friends. We’re really excited about this project and we’ve already seen a lot of interest. It’s a really cool thing to come out of the university so don’t forget to come and meet her over summer!

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