BBC R&D: a summer of research and development

Lead Producer

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The "Little Sun" participatory art experience

I am the lead producer for BBC R&D's Internet Research & Future Services team where we use technology and design to prototype the future of media and the internet. I help develop ideas, run projects and write and talk about what we do.

I regularly write for the BBC Research & Development blog. Nick asked me to round up some of what BBC R&D have been writing about on our blog over the summer.

Out of our North Lab came the concept of Perceptive Media - adapting stories to the audience by using information about that audience and their context. As Ian blogged in July:

"...it takes narrative back to something more aligned to a storyteller and an audience around a campfire ... to create something closer to a personal theatre experience in your living room".

They released their first instantiation of this, a short radio play called "Breaking Out" which you can listen to here.

For the Olympics we released an Augmented Reality application to compare your performance against Olympic athletes. Robert, Bruce and Paul wrote about the technology behind it. We worked with colleagues in Japanese broadcaster NHK to bring 7680x4320 resolution, 22.2 channel sound Super Hi-Vision (SHV) screenings of the Olympics to a number of public viewing sessions. And our splashometer for diving was used during NBC's coverage, even picking up fans such as Samuel L. Jackson no less.

Rosie wrote in depth about her work in simulating networks to optimise adaptive streaming, where media streaming clients switch between different bit-rate streams depending on the quality of connection. Along the way she explains why heating up your dinner might cause your programme to stutter.

We launched a programme recommender prototype using our experimental privacy-preserving client-side recommender engine and introduced our new project on linked open data, recommendations and data mining for TV.

Our work on RadioDNS went live on the BBC's national radio networks giving you complementary images alongside radio programmes when listening on hybrid broadcast & internet radios. And we have been simulating Radiophonic Workshop equipment natively in the browser using the emerging set of standards from the W3C Audio Working Group. Soon, you too will be able to loop, oscillate, wobbulate and modulate from your browser.

Michael
wrote a follow up to the Internet blog's series of SEO posts on what R&D have been doing with schema.org and a possible future of search and knowledge on the web.

For something completely different, a crack R&D team joined forces with Studio Olafur Eliasson to create a participatory art experience at the Tate Modern. Ant finished up his series of videos explaining some of the BBC's work in opening up the BBC's archives including work on generating new kinds of programme metadata using machines and people.

We created a new section on our website to showcase the latest prototypes and code on the web from R&D - BBC R&D Labs. Speaking of the website, we're working on refreshing the design, structure and content of it and you could really help us out by answering a few questions.

Finally, some events - the IBC exhibition in Amsterdam has just finished, where we presented many papers and showed our Stagebox, RadioDNS, World Service archive prototypes and more to the many thousands of visitors. And don't forget the upcoming Connected Studio events around CBBC and user experience happening over the coming months - you might get to help shape the future of the BBC online.

Tristan Ferne is lead producer, Internet Research & Future Services, BBC R&D

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