Currently on display in Sheffield’s Meadowhall, the heart is destined to sit inside the Steel Man, which will be a soaring 32 m landmark sculpture planned for a former landfill site overlooking the M1 and Meadowhall. The sculpture will serve as a beacon to honour the people and places behind the area’s steel and coal heritage, and a symbol of the city’s advanced manufacturing sector of current times.

The ‘Heart of Steel’ has been created to raise money to build the landmark sculpture - with people donating to the Steel Man project having a name etched on the 2.4 m heart, which weighs in at just over one ton. The sculpture and the laser engraving of names has been made possible by the support of three Sheffield companies: Maher donated the material; Doncasters Bramah made the sculpture; and Pryor Marking Technology is engraving the names.

So that visitors could see where the name is located, the AMRC team from the Integrated Manufacturing Group (IMG) developed an interactive, touchscreen app that would let people do just that. It was developed by Michael Lewis, digitally assisted assembly technical lead for the Integrated Manufacturing Group (IMG), and Charlie Conte, a computer games and programming skills student from Coventry University on a work placement with IMG.

The app shows the Heart of Steel dominating a factory floor, with blazing welding sparks firing from behind workshop screens that surround the heart, bringing the scene to life for users.

It has a smart function built in that allows users to view a film about the project and watch some of the emotional, heart-wrenching stories from those who donated to the appeal in memory of a loved one. It also lets visitors learn more about the AMRC, the British Heart Foundation and how to make a donation.

Lewis said: “The application we have built is tablet-based and will sit on a pedestal in front of the heart, so a person can come along, type in a name and the app will animate through the heart and zoom in to where that name is engraved on a particular panel, so the person knows where it is on the actual heart.

“The way we did this was by getting a 3D CAD model of the heart and importing it into a games engine called Unity and programmed the functionality to tie it to the names and then gave it the ability to animate when you type a name and the intelligence to be able to do that. We have essentially made a mini game.”

The ‘Heart of Steel’, on display on the lower level of Meadowhall, outside H Samuel, until the Steel Man is built, is made from Inconel, a material normally seen in high performance engine parts used in aerospace and Formula One. It is made up of 135 individual panels that will be engraved with names chosen by people who donate to the appeal, with 10% of all donations going to the British Heart Foundation to fund life-saving research.