BBC R&D

Posted by Libby Miller on , last updated

These are weekly notes from the Internet Research & Future Services team in BBC R&D where we share what we do. We work in the open, using technology and design to make new things on the internet. You can follow us on Twitter at @bbcirfs.

Radiodan

Very exciting news this week as Victor brought in the first Radiodan kits to show us. Radiodan is primarily about quickly and cheaply prototyping radio devices with different experiences, so having a kit and case that people can easily put together is key.

The new cases look lovely, hold all the wires, speaker, Raspberry Pi and other bits together carefully inside and are very customisable. We'll be testing them in the next few weeks together with the instructions he's made for us. I'm hoping to try laser cutting one out of cardboard this week as well.

Software development on Radiodan is continuing apace, in time for our stand at MakerFaire and our talk at Solidcon. It's also scheduled to fit nicely with the next stage of MediaScape work on applications, which starts in June.

MediaScape

Our goal in MediaScape is to make it simple and natural to connect and use devices together in a way that just works, is standards-based, and is as easy for developers as HTML5. One of our candidate devices is a radio, and so Radiodan should be a perfect device for building prototypes of some of the usecases Chris Needham, Sean and I have been discussing with our partners at the 3-day MediaScape face-to-face meeting in London this week.

Home Front

This week we also had a workshop for Home Front, led by Tristan, and attended by Zillah and Michael, among others. Home Front is an upcoming WWI-set radio serial for which we've been designing potential accompanying web-data and presence. Michael's been scraping data from production documents for prototyping purposes, and meeting with MetaBroadcast (who've started work on the continuity database) to chat though the data model.

Data Journalism

Matt Shearer and Zillah ran a workshop to come up with data journalism ideas, with R&D, New Labs, News Specials (using data related to  text, video or audio).

Archives and Comma

Zillah's also recorded and edited a 2 hour programme on "Letter from America: The 1970s" for BBC Radio 4 extra. She says: "Some of the archive featured in the programme was found by COMMA, and it proved to me how useful it could be. But it couldn't find the programmes about Patty Hearst. It will be interesting to compare results when I have transcripts for all the programmes, in a few weeks."

She's also just been granted the money to restore over 650 lost recordings taped by listeners (1974 - 1989) and put them on /programmes with transcripts.

Highlights

Denise has been working on live on-the-fly classification for highlights of programmes based analysing the video, audio and using other sources. The real-time classification is still a work in progress. She, Andrew Wood, Thomas, and Anthony had a very productive meeting with Sport about possible uses for the work.