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Exciting Opportunity! - Invitation to Tender for LEO VR

We have an exciting opportunity!

Invitation to Tender - the world's first business computer in virtual reality
Tender return date: 17:00 12/06/2020
Contract start: 29/06/2020 (this is preferable but negotiable)
Contract length: 18 months max.

With the support of a National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) grant we are preserving, archiving and digitising artefacts, documents and personal memories of the Lyons Electronic Office (LEO), the world’s first business computer in partnership with the LEO Computers Society. Brief details about the project can be found at here.

One of the project's workstreams is the development of an application to enable people to explore the LEO I computer installation virtually, as it appeared in Cadby Hall, Hammersmith, London in the period c1955,-64 with the aim of raising public awareness and pride in this important, uniquely British heritage.

We have spent the first year of the project researching the first LEO, sourcing in particular photographic evidence that can tell us about the machine (see our development 'app'), and undertaking initial development work to increase our understanding of the possible tools available for harnessing VR to enhance access to museum collections. We now know that sufficient detail about the first LEO exists, that it is feasible for a relatively small museum like ourselves to make use of VR to help visitors explore this landmark machine and have secured funding to take the project forward - so we are now able to offer the opportunity to tender for building the VR LEO.

We are seeking a contractor/consultant to:

  • Design and build an interactive virtual environment that allows users to explore the  LEO I installation (c1955-64) using a VR based PC application to run on Oculus Rift that provides access to the virtual environment as a first-person VR experience.
  • Create a Mobile App for use on tablet sized devices that ideally would be deployed on both Apple iOS and Android platforms. These will include static content, telling the LEO I story and provide context, plus access to the virtual environment as a first-person experience that can be explored without the use of a VR headset.
  • Provide a short written report at project end outlining what you have achieved, any unexpected hurdles that were overcome during the build and any future problems you can foresee (for example software conflicts). The final invoice for the work will not be payable until this has been received and approved by the Project Manager.

Both the VR and Mobile Apps will be open for access to the general public and we expect a diverse range of people to use them. The VR App will be deployed in the Centre for Computing History, Cambridge, where it will be on show as part of an exhibition and used by members of the public. The Mobile App will be available for anyone to download (without having visited the exhibition) via the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, and promoted on our website. 

The successful contractor will need to supply all assets and source files so that we are able to modify the applications in the future should we choose to, for example if further historical material becomes available. We will expect the contractor to submit work to us for review as early & frequently as possible in order to allow rapid, iterative development to ensure that the project is completed as expected, to specification and on-time and to this end will expect monthly progress meetings to take place.

To request all the documents that provide more detail on our first year of work and the resulting specification for the virtual LEO, as well as the formal brief for the work we now need undertaken, please send an email to the Project Manager, Lisa McGerty (lisa@computinghistory.org.uk).

If you are then interested in creating the virtual LEO, please read all the documentation carefully and send a quotation by email to the Project Manager, Lisa McGerty (lisa@computinghistory.org.uk). Do not send a quotation if you have not requested and read the brief.

Any queries can also be sent to the Project Manager (due to the current situation with the coronavirus, the museum is currently closed and staff are working from home).

Our deadline for tender proposals is strictly 5pm on 12th June 2020. Proposals received after the deadline will not be considered. The successful contractor/consultant will be selected by the project team and will be chosen principally on price (60% weighting) but also by demonstration of a full understanding of the brief, including timescales (30%) and perceived fit with the wider project and the team (10%). We will notify the successful proposer by email by 25th June 2020. We anticipate that the virtual LEO will be ready for use in the museum and via app download by the end of 2021, with the final report report received by the Project Manager by 31st January 2022.

Good luck!



Story By: Lisa McGerty

Date : 28-05-2020

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