The Future of Mobile

Sir David Attenborough to help showcase 5G potential in interactive AR app

Tyrone Stewart

Sir David Attenborough is set to bring his iconic storytelling to people’s smartphones through an augmented reality (AR) app inspired by the BBC’s forthcoming five-part documentary series, The Green Planet.

The interactive app will enable users to see ‘holographic’ video of Attenborough alongside plants and animals in their surroundings. It will be created by a consortium, led by Factory 42, made up of BBC Studios, EE, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Talesmith, and Dimension Studios.

“Innovation has always been at the heart BBC Studios Natural History Unit,” said Mike Gunton, Creative Director at BBC Studios. “We believe that the App inspired by The Green Planet has the potential to reach millions to showcase the beauty and fragility of our natural world and inspire positive change around biodiversity and habitat protection for the benefit of all species.”

Factory 42 will co-produce the project with BBC Studios in association with Talesmith, while EE will offer up its 5G network and edge computing, and Dimension will provide volumetric capture video technology for the app’s holographic images.

The consortium is one of nine projects to win £2.2m in funding as part of a government initiative to showcase the potential of 5G.

“This cutting-edge app, fronted by broadcasting legend Sir David Attenborough, is set to be an inspiring example of how new technology can reconnect us with the natural world whilst demonstrating the power of 5G to a huge new audience,” said Matt Warman, Minister for Digital Infrastructure.

Other projects to receive funding include O2’s Project Vista, which will explore the use of multi-angle replays via smartphones during sporting events; the Eden Universe, where Cornwall’s Eden Project will look to utilise 5G to deliver a virtual visitor experience; and the use of 5G at Stadium MK, home of MK Dons FC, to power autonomous taxis, drones, and robots.

“5G is about so much more than faster mobile internet speeds so we’re investing millions to help some of Britain’s brightest innovators explore the huge potential of the technology to improve and enrich our lives,” added Warman.

“The projects we’ve selected will demonstrate how the blistering speeds of 5G can put some rocket fuel in our economy and help businesses bounce back from the pandemic.”