Posted by Dan Nuttall on , last updated

Regular updates from the Internet Research & Future Services team in BBC R&D, making new things on the internet. You can follow us on Twitter at @bbcirfs.

Radio, News, Open Source Software and more in these, our Weeknotes.


Joanne carried out user research on the Radiodan Wi-Fi setup. We’re trying to solve a common problem where a new device needs to be connected to the internet, without a screen or a standard user interface such as a keyboard.

The current solution represented a step in the right direction and Joanne thought that a thorough UX analysis would help us improve the experience.

She found that there was little feedback on the device about what was happening during the Wi-Fi pairing process - was it doing something or was it waiting for the user to do something? Joanne mapped out the process and sketched out a more informative way.

In order to test this out, she worked with Dan to create a “Wizard of Oz” prototype, combining paper prototyping with a dummy radiodan device simulating the feedback of lights and sounds. The auditory experience was created by friend of IRFS, Pete Warren.

Joanne’s completed a first-run with ten participants, with more to come in the following weeks.

The soon-to-be open source radiodan case has been tweaked and tested ahead of its release. We're happy that the case fits together properly now and will publish it shortly.

Mediascape / CPA

Chris Needham attended a MediaScape project meeting hosted by Vicomtech in Spain, where they discussed the current state of progress of the technical work, and the prototypes we'll be building.

For Cross Platform Authentication, Chris worked with the TAL team to add support for using CPA (or OAuth 2.0) access tokens when making cross-domain HTTP requests.


Michael Smethurst, Malin Andersson, Zillah Watson and Andrew Wood started user testing the new Archers Story Arc database with the production team in Birmingham on Wednesday, and they were all impressed by how simple it will be to use. Also they can search for things like "Aga' for the first time.

James Jefferies and Richard Jones are continuing to work with us on the prototype for the Archers, which will show how the same data can be used for audience facing experiences and we've been thinking about the storylines and events we'll include in it. We've also started to plan for the equivalent prototype for Radio 4's Home Front. 

Atomised News

Another workshop or two on atomised news, another load of sketches, and some good ideas now being developed by Tom and Anthony.

Walls Have Eyes

Some initial planning and testing of face recognition by Libby and Andrew N around the next Walls Have Eyes installation. The API is being moved from Ruby to Node.js and the data collection from the various sensors have been standardised and streamlined.

They are planning a version for QCon as preparation for the Designs of the Year exhibition, where it needs to run for a marathon five months.

BCS workshop notes

We had a workshop with our colleagues elsewhere in R&D some time ago around synchronisation, as they are working on standards and prototypes around sync and second screen. This sprint Libby wrote up the notes, and made a summary video documenting the experience.

Sensory Overload

For an upcoming collaboration with our colleagues at UCLIC, Andrew N’s been experimenting with Espruino, a JavaScript-based micro controller. He's been attaching various sensors to the controller and making them communicate via USB to a laptop or Raspberry Pi running Radiodan. Currently we have an ultrasonic distance sensor, gyroscope/accelerometer and the beginning of capacitive sensing. Andrew’s working with Dan on a potential library for the latter device. The goal is to have something that can trigger audio behaviour via the external environment.


Chris Needham met with the Audio Factory team discuss how they could use Peaks.js when creating audio on-demands.