Archives: June 2007

29/06 WiiPG

A while back, some of my colleagues in the Navigation team at BBC R&D wrote a nifty Java-based EPG called "Genome", which demonstrates some new ideas for interacting with TV schedules. Then, back in February, some (different) colleagues and I joined the Wiimote hacking bandwagon and wrote a GlovePIE script to use the Wiimote as an inteface to it. It got reported on the blog, which I recommend for anyone who might be reading this one, incidentally. We have since spent a lunchtime filming how the whole thing works, and you can view it, in glorious wobbly-focus web-quality video, below.

Personally I don't think that this is intrinsically an impressive hack, especially since the bit that took all the effort was creating the EPG in the first place, not the superficial (but undeniable) coolness of being able to control it by waving your arms around (the bit that impresses most people is the brief bit of gesture recognition half-way through - tilting the Wiimote left and right to zoom in and out of the EPG's "grid" display of the schedule). The thing I like about it is the same thing that excites every hacker who picks up a Wiimote though - the potential. If you have access to a Wiimote and a PC with a Bluetooth adaptor, start playing already!
  • Time: 06:19PM
  • Category: BBC

21/06 Hacking the TV API

A couple of years ago some colleagues and I took the subtitle stream from BBC programmes on Freeview, OCRed it and used keywords from it to map social networks within TV programmes. We presented the idea at Open Tech 2005, and you can find out more from the White Paper I wrote a few months later. We also put the software we used on Sourceforge, as "substream", although it was (and is) very hacky. So it's really great to see someone else doing cool stuff with the same technology. Congratulations to the team behind "BBC Nwsr24", who won the "Best use of BBC APIs" prize at the recent Yahoo/BBC Hackday in London. Their idea is to take the subtitle-extracted keywords and use them as search terms in the Yahoo maps, Flickr and BBC News APIs, and at the time of writing they had a live demo up here.