About NanoMission


Whilst most young people are familiar with nanotechnology as a fantastic futuristic technology involving miniature robots, very few have a realistic understanding of nanotechnology, realise its impact on the world around them, or are genuinely stimulated about its possibilities. Coupled with declining numbers of physics, chemistry and engineering students, this is a major cause for concern.

Our aim is to inspire youngsters about the world of nanotechnology, potentially opening their eyes to choosing it as a career. Aimed at the gaming generations, NanoMission(TM) is an engaging learning experience which educates players about basic concepts in nanoscience through real world practical applications from microelectronics to drug delivery.

Through sponsorship, we aim to make the PC version of the game, including a ‘teachers’ version which contains lesson plans and online support, available free to schools and colleges throughout the world.


The key factor in the project is a firm grounding in real scientific facts and knowledge played out in an imaginative and exciting game world. As a result of close interactions with the scientific community, the game provides the most accurate three dimensional view of the nanoworld ever produced, which will help shift public opinion away from nano submarines and robots to a more realistic view of nanotechnologies.

Utilising our innovative and entertaining method of game-based learning we’re making nanotechnology relevant, interesting and engaging, with game quality akin to current PlayStation 2 and Xbox titles, meeting young people’s expectations of console quality gaming. Our high quality, interactive 3D environments feature stunning visual effects as well as realistic physics simulated for the quantum and macro world.

The game has three modes of play, including arcade, story and classroom modes. The classroom mode includes support for teachers to ensure it can be used to maximum effect. An accompanying website including teacher’s notes and student hand-outs covering each concept behind the challenges presented in the game, as well as background information and links to other resources are also provided.


Players are challenged in imaginative environments that promote learning about the operation of nanoelectronics, building and functionalizing molcules, nanoscale imaging, bottom up self assembly, and nanomedicine.

The game’s plot is to save the world from destruction by Dr.Nevil and his army of nano-machines and nano-materials, whilst the player stealthily learns about real world nanotechnology. The game hero (player) supported by Dr. Goodlove and his assistants use nano-imaging, create nano-machines, develop nano-materials, and utilise an extraordinary shrinking machine to shrink the player to the nanoscale to stop Dr. Nevil and save the world.

The game will be played through Nine challenges covering the following scientific concepts:

Nano Medicine: How nanotechnology can be used to help fight disease Available now as a playable demo.

Nano Scale : What the nano scale is like from a first person point of view & how it differs from normal scale.

Nano Imaging: Imaging at nano scale. Use of atomic force microscope, electron microscopes and scanning tunnelling microscope.

Nano Manipulations: Modifying and manipulating atoms inside nano structures.

Nano Electronics: How nanotechnology is used in electronics.

Nano Machines: Devices created from atoms. Nano robots, nano sensors, nano motors, nano drug delivery systems, nano manipulators.

Self-Assembly: Understanding self-assembly in the nanoworld.

Quantum Theory and Quantum Computing : How objects behave at quantum level, wave particle duality, uncertainty principles, applications in quantum computing.

Nano Materials : How tho create them and what are their properties.

Who’s involved?

NanoMission is being developed by PlayGen, London’s premier game based learning development studio, to ensure its success with the nanotechnology community, we have partnered with Cientifica, a global nanotechnology consultancy.

We are developing science-based action-adventure games because we believe today’s gaming technology has a far greater role to play in society, especially in promoting learning and understanding the world around us.

As a non-profit venture we are working with a wide range of partners who share our commitment to demonstrating that science can be challenging and fun.

Scientific Advisory Boards

The game is being developed with the support of a Scientific Advisory Board to ensure that content is firmly rooted in real science.

Professor Mark Welland FRS, FREng, is the Professor of Nanotechnology, Director of the IRC in Nanotechnology and Director of the Nanoscience at the University of Cambridge.

Professor Richard Jones FRS, is a Professor of Physics at the University of Sheffield, the author of the book Soft Machines and a frequent writer on nanotechnology.

Professor Kostas Kostarelos FRSM, is the Chair of NanoMedicine and Deputy Head for the Centre for Drug Delivery Research of University of London.

Dr Wolfgang Luther, head of nanotechnologies at VDI The Association of German Engineers, a non-profit organization of 126,000 engineers and natural scientists and author of numerous VDI and EU reports on nanotechnology.

We are currently recruiting an Educational Advisory Board to ensure that the game meets the highest education standards – if you are a science teacher and would like to get involved please get in touch via registration form.

Similarly if you represent a school and would like to participate in the beta testing program, please fill in the school registration form.

Content Partners

We are developing the core content of NanoMission in conjunction with the following scientific organisations :

National Nanotechnology Coordination Office
The NNCO assists in the preparation of multi-agency planning, budget and assessment documents. The NNCO is the point of contact on Federal nanotechnology activities for regional, state and local nanotechnology initiatives, government organizations, academia, industry, professional societies, foreign organizations, and others to exchange technical and programmatic information. In addition, the NNCO develops and makes available printed and other materials as directed by the NSET Subcommittee as well as maintains the NNI

The Institute of Physics
The Institute of Physics is a scientific membership organisation devoted to increasing the understanding and application of physics. It has an extensive worldwide membership (currently over 34,000) and is a leading communicator of physics with all audiences from specialists through government to the general public. Its publishing company, IOP Publishing, is a world leader in scientific publishing and the electronic dissemination of physics.

The National Physical Laboratory
The National Physical Laboratory is the United Kingdom’s national standards laboratory. It provides measurement services to government and industry covering: acoustics; analytical measurement; basic metrology; electrical and electromagnetic measurement; mathematics and scientific computing; ionising radiation; length; materials; mechanical metrology; optical radiation; photonics; thermal metrology and time. The NPL website provides details of research into measurement in all these areas, together with services available from NPL, news, events and publications.

VDIAssociation of German Engineers
Established in 1856, the VDI is today the largest engineering association in Western Europe. In Germany, it is recognized as the representative of engineers both within the profession and in the public arena. As the leading institution for training and technology transfer among experts, it is also a partner at the preliminary stages of the decision-making process in matters of technological policy and for all questions that engineers face in their professional or public lives.

The Royal Society of Chemistry
The Royal Society of Chemistry is a large professional body for chemistry in the UK. It provides a forum for chemists and chemistry to exchange ideas and results and provides a network to encourage collaboration on new ventures. The Society recognises achievement through awards and endowed lectureships and assists young chemists by bursaries for various purposes. The Society is a major world publisher of journals and books and provides information services through its library and database system.

Distribution Networks

We are building our distirbution network for NanoMission to ensure that every teacher and student that can possibly benefit from it will find out about it and get access to it. Some of our distribution channels include :

The Association for Science Education
Promoting excellance in science teaching and learning.
The Association for Science Education (ASE) is the professional body for those involved in science education at all levels, including school technicians and student teachers. The Association promotes high quality science education and fosters the professional development of its members. The website contains details about ASE, its membership, online bookshop, Inset events and the ASE’s journals. The ASE organises an annual conference, and both regional and global activities. They also participate in ‘Science Across the World’, a programme which raises awareness of the impact of science on people’s lives.

SEMTA – The Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies.
SEMTA covers some 100,000 companies employing 2,500,000 people in the UK. Led by the sector, for the sector, SEMTA is working closely with its Sector Strategy Groups to drive improvements in productivity by transforming skills in : Aerospace Biotechnology Electrical engineering Electronics, including semi- conductors Engineering metal products Forensic Science Mathematics Mechanical engineering Meteorology Motor vehicle manufacture Nanotechnology Optical manufacture Pharmaceuticals Shipbuilding/ship repair/boat building and repair.

SETNET – Science, Engineering, Technology and Matechmatics Network
SETNET is the Science Engineering Technology Mathematics Network and has almost 100 member organisations representing Government, industry, the engineering professional institutions, education and education charities. It is one of the outcomes of a Government initiative – Action for Engineering. SETNET is about ensuring that there is a flow of well motivated, high quality people from schools who have an interest in, and an understanding of, engineering related subjects. SETNET aims to enhance and enrich the science curriculum and to bring about collaboration between various organisations to influence the teaching of the subject. Information is provided on various aspects of curriculum support, including a searchable resource list. A series of SETPOINTs has been established throughout the UK operating as a focus for information about resources, schemes and initiatives. Links to the SETPOINTs are provided.

SCENTA – Careers & more in Science, Engineering & Technology
News articles in engineering and technology, plus details of events, courses, training opportunities and jobs are provided here by leading sources and members of the industrial, academic and institutional, science, engineering and technology community. Resource listings, discussion forums, and information about professional and research awards are also available. scenta was initiated by The Engineering and Technology Board (the etb), and provides a gateway to the best SET resources on the web. scenta content providers include the British Computer Society, CIBSE, The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), SEMTA, NESTA, ECUK, Intute, ICE, IIE, the Royal Academy of Engineering and Year in Industry.