BBC R&D

Posted by Chris Newell on

"The Shape of Mixes" and "Looking for Nigel" are just some of apps which came together in a creative fortnight for the IRFS team.

The Shape of Mixes

Kristine has been working on her "The Shapes of Mixes" prototype, as shown above, which aims to identify music fromm BBC Introducing which is similar in character to specific BBC mixes (e.g. Radio 1’s "Workout Anthems"). The approach is similar to her earlier Music Station Classifier which matched tracks to BBC Radio stations but this latest app has new and improved filters. The new prototype interface, built by Alicia, allows you to reorder the songs by various parameters including percentage match, key and beats per minute.

Memory Study

Holly and David are continuing their study into how young people record/capture memories, both online and offline, using Cultural Probes.

Cultural probes use a collection of tools, artifacts and tasks to provoke the user to look and think about their environment in new ways. The responses from the probes are intended to initiate a dialogue between the designer and the study group. The team have designed eight paper and video based tasks for the 12 participants and are exploring how well the approach works and which techniques yield the best results. They've collected lots of interesting data and the participants have been very open and engaged.

STT and Recommendations

The Data team have finished their 6-week sprint cycle where they have completed three key milestones:

  • an automated end-to-end system for evaluating STT systems
  • a port of our Kaldi STT system to Python
  • the integration of nnet3-chain, a superior type of Kaldi model

The team are now planning to spend the next week exploring sources of metadata for drama and comedy recommendations in an all-team hackweek before starting a new sprint cycle.

Recommending drama and comedy programmes can be more challenging than factual programming because the metadata does not typically reflect their subjective qualities. The team are planning to create subjective forms of metadata, either automatically or humanely curated, and then evaluate the impact this metadata can have on the recommendations. This will include Denise's sentiment analysis work which is based on James Russell's models of emotion.

Synth Voices

The Anansi Team have now created 15 synthetic voices so far, with a variety of regional accents and genders. They've also created a user interface for a study in which they hope to learn about which voices people prefer in different broadcasting contexts.

Audio AR

Rosie has written a script for "Looking For Nigel", an outdoor audio augmented-reality (AR) story, which has been recorded by Nicky and family. Tom has been working on voice recording, looping and delay functions. The team are hoping to have one or two apps to launch at SXSW where Nicky and will be speaking on a panel about Audio AR.

Out and About

Nicky was in Rome for the EBU New Radio Day where she gave presentations on Audio AR and "5 Days, 5 Dates" a multimodal drama prototype we created for smart speaker and mobile.

 

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