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Placeholder Interactive - MITA Innovation Hub

the business idea

Ariana's Magical Journal on Light is an almost infinitely extendable platform that lends itself well to future expansion in physics and other subject areas. We created a story surrounding a central character, Ariana, who is new to our Universe and wants to explore it through her magical journal. Our first release will be a game that uses this platform for teaching the physics of light to schoolchildren, but we aim to use it to explore other areas of science.

the startup
Placeholder Interactive is a nascent Maltese startup whose aim is to develop high quality digital serious games for engaging school children with scientific concepts. It was set up in response to a call issued by MITA in 2016.




the team
Andre' Xuereb has a BSc (Hons) in mathematics and physics from the University of Malta (2007), a PhD in optical and quantum physics from the University of Southampton (2011), and a MEnt in knowledge-based entrepreneurship from the University of Malta (2015). André has a passion for engaging with the public, and often holds talks where he invites members of the audience, who have no prior contact with quantum physics, to consider the strange concepts that underlie the world of the very small. He is a widely published scientist and has an excellent academic network spanning Europe and beyond..

Danielle Martine Farrugia is a science and physics teacher currently teaching physics at Maria Regina Mosta Secondary School where she has been teaching for the past five years. She is a BEd graduate in science, with a specialisation in physics, and obtained a distinction for an MSc in science and society. She aims to bring science closer to the public by organising such events in the hope of bringing more awareness of science and scientific technology to the public.

Isabelle Kniestedt is a multi-disciplinary artist, with skills including 2D and 3D animation, 3D modelling, illustration, game design, and programming. Though she has various interests, game development has been her continuing passion throughout the years. She is particularly interested in telling small, touching stories with her work and exploring ways of how games can be used for purposes other than entertainment.

Marcello Gómez Maureira is an interactive media generalist on a journey through many fields of research, and is perpetually drawn to projects that involve functional challenges or possibilities for exploration and self-expression. His formal training and education thus far involved the fields of mechanical engineering (Technical College), video game development (BEng), and media technology (MSc). He published research papers in the fields of human-computer interaction, game user research, affective computing, and virtual reality through head-mounted displays.