Tag Archives: bbcr&d

Another video which must be watched…

Aral Balkan – Free is a Lie – Thinking Digital 2014 from Thinking Digital on Vimeo.

Aral drives me a little crazy, I end up writing massive long blog posts about his talks. But I have to give it to him, the showmanship and underlying ideas are pretty much good. You can see for yourself in the talk which got me writing about the 5 stacks.

Don’t forget to check out my blog for BBC R&D connected what happened at the Quantified self and Thinking DigitalThe panel discussion which I made reference to, is also up and Tom Scott’s video telling us its all going to be ok.

Maybe next time you should come to Thinking Digital and experience it for yourselves?

2 conferences in 1 week (Sheffield Doc Fest & Primeconf)

This week just passed and I got to say it wasn’t half as bad as it seemed on paper or at least my calendar.

Sheffield documentary festival

Variable Documentary preview

I headed across to Sheffield on Sunday to give a talk with Tony Churnside at the Sheffield international documentary festival about Perceptive Media. It very went well and I kind of wished I stayed over so I could keep some of the conversations going and there was plenty else going on which I wanted to check out.

The festival seems to take over the whole city and the weather was great on the Sunday and Wednesday. Wednesday I didn’t talk but rather supported some collages who showed an early preview of the variable length documentary.

Next year I hope we will have a lot more to show, and next year I hope to spend more time at the rest of the festival.

Best of British / Primeconf

Primeconf: Best of British

This conference which started out on kickstarter and became a real conference arranged by long time friend Thayer Prime. It was a bit of a crazy idea but the result was something worthwhile and maybe the start of something new and interesting.

The speakers were as you can imagine by the title, British speakers.

It really was something special, and it was a joy to be a small part of the whole event.

I gave a shorter version of the dating, lies and algorithms talk I have been wanting to give. So look out it may be back sooner or later as a more involved talk. It went down well although I certainly did take out all the personal stuff and non PG-13 stuff to fit with the code of conduct. Something which sadly later in the day seemed to have got forgotten, with swearing and a questionable slide.

Regardless, I learned a number of things including Priya is behind changify.org  (something which we tried to do ages ago in the form of wedreamthecity) and could be helpful with gentrification and communities. Some other stand out presentations include Pete Duncanson, Chris Thorpe, Herb Kim, Dr Tom Crick, Amy Mather and a special mention of Mazz Mosley’s super low budget style of presentation. Love it! Good to finally meet her too.

Is Thayer going to do it again? I certainly think she should… I’m actually thinking Herb and Thayer could create something which is special? The venue was great (Royal Institution, yes the one they do the Royal Christmas lectures from!) and a good turn out.

Both events were well worth effort of attending and speaking at… For such a packed week going to London twice and Sheffield twice, I actually feel ok. Just a shame my treat of going to Thorpe Park wasn’t anything like when going in March/April.

Tangible playlists

#1 Mixtape

There’s been a research project I have been thinking about quite a bit. It involves something of a passion of mine and maybe many others. It combines a couple of thoughts, I have actually blogged a few times.

pacemaker_sonar_june_2007_09

Make DJing physical again

I have been calling for the more democracy in the world of Djing for a while. Luckily I’m not the only one thinking this, the pacemaker guys are all over this. But before their latest app, I was inspired by my experience of switching from vinyl to laptop to the pacemakerdevice. But frustrated by the lack of forward thinking by the rest of the Dj world. I called for a hackday for djs, oppose to the already popular music hackday.

Part of the thinking was around making the DJ experience physical again, as pressing buttons behind a laptop screen makes you look like your doing your email, not banging out a epic set. Physical without needing tons of controllers and moving away from 2 decks and a mixer.

There are parallels with Djing/Mixing and making a playlist. A lot of thinking goes into the tune selection. But like mixes, the platform allows you to be more creative than simply play one tune after another. You may choose to play part of a tune, start a tune after the introduction. You may choose to speed up or slow down a tune. The mixtape is a narrative, a narrative your giving to another person. To think about a pls, m3u or xspif is almost an insult.

Untitled

Physically sharing things

I have spoken at length about the way we are physical beings and tend to prefer physical things. Whats interesting about physical things is the emotional attachment which comes with them. I even said it myself before…

Physical artifacts are much easier to lend to people and much more likely to be taken seriously by friends currently.

My examples include my book collection and the best example is the creativity which went into mixtapes.

Like it or not, there is something about sharing which is instantly more engaging. I think it might have something to do with the way our brains are wired. Something some people take advantage of (wish I could find the exact effect/scam, where someone gives you a small token gift and you in exchange tend to open your pocket to bigger amounts)…

There have been many attempts to give digital things a physical footprint but its always felt forced. What if you could take the best parts of digital and give them a physical footprint?

What would that look like, what would it be able to do which you can’t do right now in both mediums?

Atlas Hands

Tangible Playlists

This project I nicked named Tangible Playlists… Although its actually called physical playlists. Its a join project between BBC R&D and Lancaster University.

‘Mix tapes’ were a thing of love, a physical object which people would share with significant others and friends around them. They were naturally a social object and highly representative of a person’s identity. The knowledge of effort involved by the giver in selecting the songs and having to sit through each one was also part of the symbolism for the receiver.  Objects can be generated and shaped from and by the media you “teach” them or existing objects you play (embed) media into. Thus the modern mix tape could become a linked series of small objects like lucky charms which are physically shareable in a form representing the tracks they contain.
This is based on the idea that physical items often mean more to us as physical beings and adds a level of exclusivity and personalisation to the sharing process. Considering transplatform engagement and the ability to engage users and viewers in co-creating media it is suggested that this may present as a new modality for user co-creation and curation.

You can read more about the project including a real nice piece about slow digital by Lancaster Uni. It will be great once the project is finished.

Other playlists

Interestingly Nathan Langley is working with others on a startup idea called Desert.fm.

Our industry is full of stories and there is many outlets for them. Blogs, publications, podcasts all giving interviews giving designers and developers a platform to share their sources of inspiration and to tell their story. We found music was usually an afterthought or a sideline, for our idea Desert fm we want to bring music to the fore, in view to create the ultimate inspiring playlist that everyone can access to discover new music and be enthralled by.

Ultimately Nathan would like a playlist from me with a few lines on why each track means something to me in an autobiographical sense.

This could be anything. For example, one track was around when you were you at school, sketching and doodling ideas for a new transformer! Or when you first learning code in the dead of night you had a special artist you would go to to get in the zone. Or just a song you are digging at the moment. This can be as long or as short as you want it.

This reminds me of Top10.com and ultimately Listgeeks.

So here is my clubbing days gone by list

  1. Seven Days And One Week – BBE – Clubbing in Ibiza in 1998, it was heavily played everywhere and although I got bored of it at the time, it still reminds me of the early days of Trance.
  2. Please Save Me (Push Remix) – Push vs Sunscreem – This was known as the Monster track by friends and the girlfriend I was dating at the time. It was killer track and made for some great nights out at the Bristol, Ritzy
  3. Oblivion (Head In The Clouds) – Manix – One of the tunes I danced to in the early days of clubbing in a underground rave.
  4. It’s My Turn (Extended Mix) – Angelic – Driving home from Bristol on the A4 road with my old Aprilla SR125 scooter listening to Judge Jules on the Essential mix. It was perfectly timed for hitting west London.
  5. Time to get ill – 4 Hero – I spent some time in Cheltenham once during school at a special event to do with the rotary club. There was a small funfair and I spent a lot of time on a ride which played Time to get ill again and again. Great time!
  6. Music Reach (1,2,3,4) – Prodigy – This song blew my mind when I first heard it on the Prodigy Experience album, which I borrowed from friend/best man Ross. I wanted more music like it.
  7. Passion (Do You Want it Right Now) – Get Decor – This song sums up clubbing in the old Bristol Mecca discotheque. Its the song which comes to mind when thinking about that period of time.
  8. Rhythm is a Dancer – Snap! – Remember listening to my next door neighbor playing this on 12inch vinyl and being blown away by the introduction. It sounded so alive, then hearing it in a club the week afterwards
  9. The Legacy (Club Mix) – Push – When I heard this tune at the Bristol Ritzy, it blew my mind. I seeked out this tune for a good few months, as I had to own it.
  10. Let me show you – Camisra – When I first heard this in a club, it brought me out chills all over. Love it and its a classic.

There is something quite special about Playlists and its amazing the stories which come out of the wood work when picking music. Imagine what would happen if you could pick any media. This is what we’ll be exploring/researching in Tangible playlists.

Can’t wait to share more details on the project soon…

Where Storytelling and Internet of Things cross over

If you know anything about the kind of work I’ve been researching for R&D. You may know Perceptive Media is big deal in my world and as my motto seems to be, my world is not mainstream yet. However this world crosses over with a couple other areas. Internet of Things, Quantified Self and Object media are a few of the obvious ones, which come to mind.

Tomorrow I’m fortunate enough to take part in another one of the Future of Storytelling weekly hangouts. I took part in one a while ago but I regularly watch on Wednesdays (1730 GMT) before heading to Volleyball. Make sure you tune into the hangout

 join us this Wednesday, March 12, as we explore “the story of things” with Alexis Lloyd, the Creative Director of the New York Times’s Research and Development Lab. The “Internet of Things,” has ushered us into an age where physical objects have the potential to talk to us – and each other – in a way that rapidly transforms our most basic understanding of what gadgets are.  Llloyd, informed in part by her background designing immersive and exploratory experiences, believes these “enchanted objects” have within them a world of narrative and poetic potential: The R+D lab exists as a laboratory for the staff of the “Grey Lady” to study the implications of these emerging technologies and behaviors on news-media and print. In the hangout she, alongside an audience of industry experts, will explore the storytelling potential of tools and devices as unassuming as a simple bathroom mirror.

The video sums it up well and gets right into the depths of storytelling and the Internet of things. It begs the question, what would objects around you say if they could talk?

Love what Alexis is doing and who knows what might happen in the future? Sure Perceptive Publishing would be right up their avenue? And some of the guys from the NYtimes office came to Hackday and Mashed back in the day… I wonder what they would make of some more of the object things were up to?

300seconds at the BBC Media City

Becky, Rosie, Jasmine - The R&D girls

It wasn’t Ted and it wasn’t TedXSalford (still need to write up my thoughts on that conference). It was something new and fresh… 300seconds I wrote about a while ago announcing its first regional (outside of London) event at Media City UK. New fresh and something which would actually help the people giving the presentation as well as inspire the audience.

The line up for the event was great balance of talks by women who all had different levels of talking experience. They all had reasons why they wanted to give it a try and frankly all did a fantastic job! Nerves and all!

Kylie Hodges, Bliss, The World of Social Media, Premature Babies and International Engagment
Jasmine Cox, BBC, Maker of Things
Ciara McVeigh, Discerning Digital, You Don’t Have to be a Geek to Work in Tech

300Seconds at BBC North

Victoria Sorzano, BBC, Confessions of a Digital Witch: Finding your Niche
Amy Lynch, ThoughtWorks, The underrepresentation of women in tech conferences
Rebecca Gregory-Clarke, BBC, How to Build a Weather Robot

Rosie Campbell, BBC, Using Game Theory to survive in a hungry tribe
Catherine Jones, Science Museum, Turning a 1920′s radio into a 21st Century Exhibit

The videos for the talks will be up on the 300seconds you tube channel in the near future.

Robin and Amy Lynch

I wanted to say thank you to BBC R&D who supported the project along with BBC North. Louise Blythe for her lovely hands off coaching and great 3 useful points for communicating an idea to someone. Robin Cramp who has seriously become a superstar MC for conferences, he’s so funny and so entertaining I think he may deserve his own show. His wheel of feedback was simply hysterical.

Fantastic night and I’m happy to say we’re already in talks about doing another in 2014, so look out for your chance to sign up and put yourself forward to talk for 300seconds.

Shining a light on your data

COFFEE

Theres a few projects which come along and get me excited… One which got me recently was Mozilla lightbeam.

Lightbeam is a Firefox add-on that uses interactive visualizations to show you the first and third party sites you interact with on the Web. As you browse, Lightbeam reveals the full depth of the Web today, including parts that are not transparent to the average user.

Fascinating stuff… Sounds very familiar to something were doing in BBC R&D (soon to be blogged and I talked about at Oggcamp13). Wonder if Mozilla would be interested in working together? Maybe I missed the chance, when I didn’t go to Mozilla Fest 2013?

Or if not maybe the Ford Foundation would be a good partner?

Ford Foundation focuses on building outreach campaigns to help people understand online data tracking — both the benefits and the issues

Don’t worry I won’t spoil it for you, but you can imagine what were thinking…

Perceptive Radio

perceptivemedia radio

Photo credit: Greg Povey, @topfife CC-BY-SA (official photo)

Today at the Thinking digital conference in Gateshead, we (BBC R&D) launched the latest prototype for Perceptive Media.

Perceptive Radio, is a project collaboration between BBC R&D, Mudlark and MCQN ltd.

Perceptive Radio credits

It can playback Perceptive Media content and has sensors of its own (proximity, light and microphone) to modify the media elements/objects in real-time. I quickly did an audioboo interview with Christian while finishing publicly showing the radio for the first time.

It will be compared to the Olinda radio which Berg made years ago, and they both share the prototype label…

…aims to provoke discussion on the future and design of radios for the home

Exciting times and there will be loads more information coming soon including details of the open sourcing of this…

IMAG2957

Surround Video on the Steam box?

Surround Video

Following my last post …

Theres a another interesting thing Gabe said in his interview about the steam box,

Do you envision a Steam Box connecting to other screens outside the living room?

The Steam Box will also be a server. Any PC can serve multiple monitors, so over time, the next-generation (post-Kepler) you can have one GPU that’s serving up eight simultaeneous game calls. So you could have one PC and eight televisions and eight controllers and everybody getting great performance out of it. We’re used to having one monitor, or two monitors — now we’re saying let’s expand that a little bit.

Well that certainly helps solve the surround video setups in the future.

This is something I was sniffing around Sony as a R&D project many years ago. I wonder if MHL could make almost any device surround video possible now? Still needs setting up, a projector and a massive parabolic mirror however…

Perceptive Media in Wired UK’s Top Tech for 2013

Perceptive Media in Wired Magazine

Someone from the BBC’s Future Media PR pointed out to me that I was in the latest issue of Wired UK. The whole thing isn’t online yet but I’ve made a manual copy (thanks to Laura Sharpe for buying the ipad version on my behalf)… Till its up online

Advertising Displays, Television and consoles are hooking up with recognition software to second-guess our hidden desires. By Ed White

Televisions, computers and retail displays are increasingly watching us as much as we’re watching them. They are likely to be the catalyst for a shift from mass to personalised media. Broadcastsers, game developers and tech companies have long dreamt of knowing who’s watching, and then making content relevant to each viewer.

Cheap cameras and sensors are making “perceptive media” a reality. First was Microsoft, whose Xbox gaming peripheral Kinect, launched in 2010, has put a perceptive-media device into more that 18 million homes worldwide. By linking people to their Xbox Live identity using facial recognition, it has made the gaming experience more tailored. But perceptive media is wider than gaming. Over two years, Japan Railways’ East Japan Water Business has installed about 500 intelligent vending machines that recognise customers’ age and gender via sensors and suggest drinks accordingly. Intel’s Audience Impression Metrics suite (Aim) users data captured by cameras on displays in shops to suggest products. Kraft and Adidas are early adopters. The software will also monitor responses to improve brands’ marketing.

But the real winner will be the entertainment industry. Samsung and Lenovo announced at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show that their new TVs will recognise a viewer by using a camera incorporated into the set, and bring up their favourite programmes; Intel is working on a set-top box with similar  capabilities. Face tracking software is also making our screens more intuitive. Japanese broadcaster NHK is experimenting with emotion-recongnition software which can suggest, say a more exciting TV show if it detects boredom. But where perceptive media gets really exciting is in using viewer data to change narratives in real time. US-based video game company Valve software is experimenting with biofeedback systems, measuring physiological signals such as heart rate and pupil dilation in players of Portal 2 and Alien Swarm. If the zombies aren’t making you sweat, the AI director can send in more. And television may follow, believes Ian Forrester senior producer at BBC R&D. Sensors in your TV would pick up who’s in the room and subtly change the programmes’s details, live: for example the soundtrack could be based on your Spotify favorites.

If that sounds Big Brother-ish, that’s because it is. Perceptive media’s biggest hurdle will be privacy. But advocates such as Daniel Stein, founder CEO of San Francisco based digital agency EVB, say that if brands can prove the value of data sharing, they’ll win people over. Here’s looking at you.

Ed White is a senior writer and consultant at contagious communications, a London-based marketing consultancy

 

Perceptive media in wired magazine

Perceptive Media at TedXBristol

This is my high level talk I gave for TedXBristol.

The powerpoint is a little screwy on the presentation but generally you get the gist. Its also the ones where I decided to mock up a clip of the introduction of Flashforward to give a instant view of what Perceptive Media could do.

I’m waiting to see how long it is till the video clip is taken down off Youtube for possible copyright violations (which I feel is totally wrong and it fits under transformative works). I used the same videos at Oreilly Tools of Change to amazing effect, although I do feel with more time I should have found some text to change slightly. Maybe I’ll do this for the writer workshops at the end of the month?

I could swear I wrote up my feelings about TedXBristol somewhere already, but can’t seem to find it right now.

Either way, I’m very happy to see it online and look forward to the feedback from people interested in Perceptive Media. I thank the team for inviting me and I look forward to spending more time in Bristol in the near future and good to see Bristol growing its digital community…

Ultra High Definition Olympics

BBC Super HiVision showcase in Bradford

I had the pleasure to experience the BBC Ultra hight definition and NHK’s Super Hi-Vision again today.

There has been enough wrote about about Super Hi-Vision on the R&D Blog but I wanted to give my view on it.

16 times the density of 1080p, and it looks like it. Each clip we saw was crisp and full of depth. Interestingly on the depth side is the lack of need for 3D. The actual density seems to increase the illusion of depth a lot. Unlike that crappy add-on 3D effect you see too much of, it feels completely natural. Well I guess it would feel totally natural as it as such….?

BBC Super HiVision showcase in Bradford

22.2 channels of 3D surround sound, yes it felt and sounded amazing. People will say it sounded loud but the reason it sounds loud is because if you go to the real thing (like I went to the womans semi-final football a couple days ago) then it is loud around you. It feels like your in the Olympic stadium in London.

BBC Super HiVision showcase in Bradford

The clips we saw was the opening of the London 2012 Olympics (parts cut together). The mens 100 meters final and some cycling events from the velodrome. Each one had plenty to see and watch. Not only could you see the audience but you could see which camera phone they were using to take pictures! During the 100meters I watched to see where that bottle got thrown from, and although I didn’t see exactly the person. I saw a number of potential people who it could have come from. Thats how rich the density of the picture. Likewise I was able to hear the chain of the bikes as they switched into high gear. Clapping from the crowd urged you to look around to check if someone in the audience was actual clapping as it sounded like it.

The swing of the camera wasn’t too bad but I can imagine it being pretty intense if it swings and pans too much.  The framerate was great and made everything look super real (as said almost 3D like)

BBC Super HiVision showcase in Bradford

Its fascinating and if you can experience it, do go you won’t be disappointed. Its still going on daily till the end of the London 2012 Olympics. What you waiting for…?

Perceptive Media Launch at Social Media Cafe Manchester

If you’ve not experienced Perceptive Media yet, stop reading and go to futurebroadcasts.com to listen to the Breaking Out audioplay.

We’ve been sitting on Breaking Out for months slowly improving it as the browsers caught up with what we were trying to get them to do (WebAudioAPI is very topical at the moment). When we first started there was no way it was going to work in anything but the latest chrome. However things are starting to change…

Anyhow because of the wait to get things working correctly, we picked a date to release much later than expected. That date slotted right in between the end of the Euro 2012 and The 2012 Olympics. That date co-insided with SMC_MCR’s July event, the event where I first talked about Perceptive Media openly for the first time.

Elliot Woods

The event hosted at the excellent Cornerhouse Cinema was great. First up was Elliot Wood discussing the process behind his most recent digital art installation in Korea with studio Kimchi and Chips. Really interesting as there were some key points which matched some of our thinking. Mainly around openness and generative/organic systems.

Tony looking nervious

After the break came some announcements and then Perceptive Media with me and Tony.

We quickly ran through our reformatted presentation from the EBU in April, to lay the context for those who were not at the SMC event in February. Afterwards we went into a live demo of Breaking Out the audioplay.

Listening to Perceptive Media

The audience enjoyed the play and seemed to respond well to part of the play I’m not going talk about now.

After hearing the audioplay we switched to a panel discussion with me, Tony Churnside, Henry Swindell (from the BBC Writers room) and Sarah Glenister (the writer of the script from the BBC Writers room). We also had Mark Boas and Mark Panaghiston (from Happyworm, the developers) on Skype just in case.

The questions were coming thick and fast, at one point I counted about 20 hands up of the 60 strong audience. Lots of questions about the idea of Perceptive Media and quite a few about the storyline. It was great having Henry there because he laid it out from the writers point of view. Sarah jumped in and gave her point of view writing the script, something she just published on the BBC Writers room blog.

Sarah at SMC_MCR eventMartin hard at work

The event was a big success for ourselves, SMC and everyone involved. The feedback we got was great and we did record the event for the purposes of research.

Following on from the launch. We’ve watched the prototype spread to quite a few places.

The BBC unveils its first perceptive media experiment and you can try it now – Martin wrote this pretty much live from the event and its gone a few places. And it appeared on Techmeme for a couple of days.

The BBC opens up its first perceptive media experiment and you can try it out right now

BBC demonstrates revolutionary perceptive media – Nice

BBC perceptive media brings the next big thing in tv and radio

Angie chan who did the illustrations talks about the project

Metafilter goes off on Perceptive Media – Would love to join this debate but alas I’m not going to get involved in the debate.

Google+ also has a few comments

Experience Perceptive Media yourself

Starting bird

Following up from my posts (here) (here) (here and also now here) about Perceptive Media… I’m very proud to announce Breaking Out, our BBC R&D experiment into new editorial formats.

The prototype requires performs best on Chrome using the new WebAudioAPI, but does work in Firefox, Opera and Safari through a fallback solution (this will eat your bandwidth as it uses WAV’s rather than compressed audio like Ogg Vorbis and Mpeg3). I would suggest keeping memory and cpu intensive applications shut while running the demo because there some serious calculations happening client side.

But most of all I’d urge everyone to leave feedback, no matter how bad or good it is… Then share it around for other people to hear and experience.

Massive thanks to everyone involved in the project…

Writer: Sarah Glenister
Harriet: Maeve Larkin
Lift operator: Anthony Churnside
Producers: Anthony Churnside and Ian Forrester
Media Engine code: Happy Worm
Jplayer Audio engine: Happy Worm
Website code: Yameen Rasul and Matthew Brooks
Illustrations: Angie Chan
With special thanks: Sharon Sephton, Henry R Swindell, Maxine Glancy, Usman Mullan, Elizabeth Valentine and the BBC Writers Room

I’m also happy to say we will be making the Media Engine code available under the Apache License for all you guys who want to hack around with the concept yourself.

Actually there might be some easter eggs in the audio drama to find for those not interested in getting all dirty in the actual code.

Project Google Glass

If your like me, you love Google in certain parts.

One of the parts I do love is the open nature of their innovation and research.

Project Glass is a reality (my bets was on Project Looking Glass) as I suspected and correctly put into my recent SMC ignite talk. Better still, its something their researching about in an open way, as they gather comments and views

Its something I would like to do more of at BBC R&D. Me and my manager battle (in a nice way) back and forth about when’s the best time to be open or go public? In this case he would be right, the video captures the idea perfectly and although its not real yet, its enough to get people talking and commenting.

Open innovation certainly comes to mind… Nytimes has more details. But join the conversation and add what you think!

Update… Don’t forget to check out Tom Scott’s take (the piss) on Project Glass :)