Feeds

Inside the BBC's R&D Labs

From the Lab to the living room

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Vision On

While some of the projects are about visualising information for the internal use, or developing products and standards from which the BBC may derive some income in future, others have a very clear public service foundation, including work on the user experience and accessibility.

A small server module, whose design will be made freely available when complete, is being used by the accessibility team to enhance standard set-top boxes. The BBC’s working with students from Lancaster’s Beaumont College to create interfaces that can be controlled with just a single switch, for example.

BBC R&D Labs feedback cuff

Hybrid TV developments include a pressure cuff triggered by on-screen events

The same module can also be used in reverse, triggering external devices based on the broadcast, for instance controlling a motor or blood pressure cuff – a sudden vibration in your hand is a lot more startling than an audio description when a monster appears without warning.

By sharing the design of the module, it should be possible to integrate it with a wide range of accessibility aids, rather than limiting people to a single ‘special needs’ set-top box.

The Lab team is working too on visual design, including fonts for television. Perhaps the end is in sight for the near-ubiquitous Tiresias.

A Question of Sport

Sport makes up a large chunk of the BBC’s output, and there too the R&D Lab is creating new tools that can help enhance how it’s presented – and with more than just fancy graphics for scores.

BBC R&D Labs Venue Vu

Venue Vu: CGI architecture with live tennis matches smoothly inserted into the fly-by

Venue Vu, for instance, seamlessly joins 3D rendered fly-throughs of a sports venue like Wimbledon with the action on the court. First seen at this year’s tennis tournament, it’s likely to get another outing for the Olympics next summer.

At an earlier stage of development is a biomechanics system that can analyse factors like the angle at which a diver enters the water, or show the centre of gravity of a jumper, giving extra opportunities for pundits to wax lyrical; the demo I saw had pretty basic graphics, but we may see a more sophisticated version at the Olympics in 2012.

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Next page: Look around you

More from The Register

next story
Ford's B-Max: Fiesta-based runaround that goes THUNK
... when you close the slidey doors, that is ...
All aboard the Poo Bus! Ding ding, route Number Two departing
Only another three days of pooing and I can have a ride!
Official: European members prefer to fondle Apple iPads
Only 7 of 50 parliamentarians plump for Samsung Galaxy S
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
Dragon Age Inquisition: Our chief weapons are...
Bioware's fantasy forces in fine fettle
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.