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Social Care

A comprehensive guide to all the latest gadgets, websites, games and computer industry news. This week, a look at how technology is being used to look after the elderly.


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Transcript


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Now on BBC News, it's Click.

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This week: Robot nurses.

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Robot rabbits.

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And disco-dancing aliens.

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It's technology that will put a smile on your face - literally.

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Believe it or not, modern nursing as we know it only

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dates back to the 1800s, to the time of Florence Nightingale

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and other pioneers.

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The Royal College of Nursing here in London is now in its 101st year.

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For all the life-saving technology that we've seen,

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the actual act of nursing itself is one relationship that so far has

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remained uniquely human.

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But our population is ageing.

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20% of Japan is over the age of 60.

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And in the UK, a quarter will be over 65 by 2045.

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This all means that the pressures on nursing are increasing,

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and looking after elderly people is becoming a pressing

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issue around the world.

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Kat Hawkins travelled to Helsinki, in Finland, to discover whether one

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of these could become the new one of these.

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I'm here in Helsinki, visiting the home of Marja Roth Sopanen.

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I'm here in Helsinki, visiting the home of Marja Roth Sopanen.

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Hello!

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Hello, how are you?

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Nice to meet you! Nice meeting you!

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She's an ex-air hostess, who likes to keep active at the age of 73.

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Look at the hat as well! That was ages ago!

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But after a skiing accident a few years ago, she developed epilepsy.

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I fell down, backwards, hit my head.

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I was unconscious for a little while, then got up and skied,

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and that's when it started.

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Her epilepsy means she needs daily medication and that her family,

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who live in New York, want to make sure she's OK.

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They get this reassurance from her daily nursing visit -

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over on the living room table.

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Do you think that this is as good as a nursing visit?

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It's better because they see, actually physical, see me,

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and then I don't have to wait for somebody to come.

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They want to check basically that I, ask basically

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if I took my pill, and...

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And just see how you are?

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How I... Yeah.

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Face, actually, to see the picture, to see that I'm OK.

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At the other end of the line is Tuomo Kuivamaki.

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He's one of the nurses here in Helsinki's first

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virtual nursing centre.

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Here, teams of trained nurses each make up to 50 video calls per day

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to people around the city who need support.

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So you've still got that kind of real human...

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Yeah, yeah.

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And especially some of the older customers, that's like a highlight

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of the day for them, to have sort of a small chat

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with a friendly nurse!

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The hope is that this will cut down on the number of home visits that

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nurses have to do to people who don't need physical

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support, freeing up more time for those that do.

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The software itself, called Video Visit, works much

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like any video call.

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So while the tech isn't that new, Helsinki's unique in how wisely

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the government is using it, and that can mean big

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savings for them.

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An in-person nursing visit can cost around 40 euros,

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but this new type of checkup costs as little as five.

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And what really comes across watching this call

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is that they do have a relationship.

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They're chatting away.

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And it just shows that that nursing element,

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that real human connection, is still there, even though

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it's a video call.

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People do hesitate at technology, and especially in nursing.

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We have virtual home care.

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We are actually taking care of people.

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It's scary that the robots are coming and taking our jobs.

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Actually, the robots are in here already,

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but they are easing our job and actually giving us the freedom

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to focus on people who actually need our physical help.

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Helsinki isn't the only place trying to keep people happy

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in their own homes for longer.

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At the Bristol Robotics Lab in the UK, a mock house

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is being used to predict what social care of the future might look like.

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Patients in their homes, but supported by a host

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of robots and smart devices.

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The fridge is open.

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Pepper has automatically recognised that the fridge has now opened.

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There's some chicken soup.

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You could heat that in the microwave.

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There's some chicken soup, I can heat that in the microwave.

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As well as recognising certain sensors around the house,

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Pepper is designed for other functions, aimed at keeping

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people in their own homes, such as physiotherapy exercises.

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Critics argue that robots can never replace the human interaction

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between carer and patient.

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Others point to their ability to go wrong.

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But if robots mean that people can live independently

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in their own homes for longer, then it might be we see

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more of them knocking around our kitchens in the future.

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That was Kat.

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Now, medical technologies, of course, are improving

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across-the-board.

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One example is the use of wearable technology

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for tracking facial muscles.

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Now, this can be transformative for people with conditions

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like facial palsy, Parkinson's and autism - allowing them

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to control devices remotely, or even just smile naturally.

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We asked three volunteers to try out some of the latest tech on offer.

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My name is Bethan Robertson-Smith and I'm doing my daily routine.

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It's a series of exercises to flex the muscles in my face.

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In 2008, when I was at university studying to be a veterinary nurse,

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I had a serious car accident.

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I had a fractured skull, an acquired brain injury,

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and I was left with facial palsy - also known as facial paralysis.

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It meant that every one of the 40 muscles that gave expression

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in my face had been paralysed.

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Years later, I had an operation that allowed me to smile

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like a Mona Lisa, using just two of the chewing muscles that

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were unaffected by the accident.

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It's very hard to know exactly what muscles I need

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to move to help me smile.

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I came down to Brighton today to try out a new piece of technology that's

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gonna help people like myself, who've got facial palsy.

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One of the surgeons who operated on me is part of a team of experts

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developing technologies with sensors to read the muscle activities

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of people with facial paralysis.

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So, when you were first diagnosed, you had an examination

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called the needle EMG, where the needle was put

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into the skin, into the muscles, to read the tiny electrical signals

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that the muscles emanate.

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With this technology, what we're using is these sensors

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that are noninvasive.

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So the same kind of reading, but without the pain,

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like none of the...?

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That's right.

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You have some degree of crossover between the muscles and that's why

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you need the machine learning and the Artificial Intelligence

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to interpret which muscle is activating.

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I'm Sarah Healey and, 30 years ago, I had a brain tumour.

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Try to raise both eyebrows symmetrically.

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Raise them both together.

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Together...

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And relax.

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The operation to take it out left me with paralysis

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on the right-hand side of my face.

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OK. Now smile with lips together.

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I'm certainly not alone, as there are about 100,000 people

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in the UK who have had facial paralysis for years.

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So each one of these dots represents the position on your face.

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OK.

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And so, for example, if you were to try and do

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a left-sided smile...

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Just smile.

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And relax.

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And the darker the red, the bigger the signal.

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So because my left side is better and stronger...

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That's right.

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..it's showing up as stronger on the screen.

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That's right.

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This is great because for the first time, I'm getting accurate

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information about what is going on with my face.

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I tend to overwork this side of my face, so this really

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is giving me feedback that I have to dampen down the movements I don't

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want, and this is just so good at doing that.

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I sort of try and practise in front of a mirror.

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It's not quite as subtle as this, is it?

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And also, I'm not that keen on looking in mirrors,

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to be quite honest.

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But it doesn't end there.

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This headset takes all the information from sensors -

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just like in the goggles - but now translates it into real-time

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expressions on a 3-D cartoon.

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Yeah, so I'm trying really hard to make her do a full smile...

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Yes.

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But it feels funny on my face.

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Doing it to a mirror, you kind of tell yourself what it looks like.

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Whereas she is like, oh, no, that's not what it looks like.

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My name's George Dowell, I'm the owner of Worthing Football Club.

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A lot on my day-to-day work involves using a computer and it can often be

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quite time consuming.

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Before I had my car accident, in 2010, I was a player

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for the club and on my way up.

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The accident left me with a broken spine and ten months in hospital.

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It was obviously a very tough time for me, but after a lot of rehab,

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I decided I wasn't gonna give up on football and I used my

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compensation pay-off from the accident to buy the club

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I used to play for.

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How are you doing, you all right?

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Nice to see you. And you.

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So there are quite a few companies now looking to see whether they can

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use VR as a new work space. Yeah.

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So by using this type of technology to sort of allow you to type

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much faster and interact with other people.

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If you thought it was quite funny, you can give it an eye wink.

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Or if you didn't like it, you can now do a frown

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and it'll do a frowny face.

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There you go.

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He looks grumpy, doesn't he?

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With this new headset, I should be able to control

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the keyboard and options using a wink or a frown, which will

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open up a whole new world for me.

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Yeah, it's very responsive.

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You're really slick on that now!

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It might sound strange to say, but for the first time

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since my accident, I'm able to see what my smile actually looks like.

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Not to make it sound like, I dunno, a strange way,

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but you're kind of doing it with somebody else.

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Yes. And it's not such a lonely thing.

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My biggest aim for this would be to be able to help me

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smile symmetrically.

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That's been one of my aims for the last 30 years.

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Welcome to the 'Week In Tech'.

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It was the week Instagram admitted a flaw in its systems revealed

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a number of celebrities' phone numbers and email addresses

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to cyber attackers.

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Nasa announced a replacement for the Space Shuttle could be one

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step closer to happening.

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It's called Dream Chaser and it's being developed

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by a private company.

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And pizza-delivery drivers could be out of a job if Domino's and Ford's

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autonomous car delivery service trials take off in the USA.

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A German university has scooped top prize SpaceX's Hyperloop Pod design

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competition, with a pod that reached a top speed of 201 mph.

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But their trial has been topped by Elon Musk's Tesla pod,

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which has been used to give the students' efforts a push-start,

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recording a speed of 220 mph.

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And Uber took steps to change its public image

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with the arrival of a new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi.

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The firm's made a U-turn on its policy allowing it to track

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users for five minutes after finishing a ride.

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The update, due to be rolled out this week,

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means tracking ends immediately once a ride is finished.

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And finally, Google announced it would replace its Augmented Reality

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effort Tango with one called ARCore.

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The technology will first be available on the Samsung Galaxy S8

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and Google Pixel phone.

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Not to be outdone, Apple gathered developers together to show off some

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of the new apps soon to be available thanks to its new AR kit -

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from IKEA's app that lets you place furniture virtually in your home,

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all the way to one very hungry caterpillar.

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We've now seen robots doing many things, but the idea of them

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keeping us company is, for many, still quite hard

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to comprehend, but that's something a few companies

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are hoping to overcome.

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Meet MiRo.

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Whilst the hardware is finished, the software is still being worked

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on, but the aim is to create a cute companion for the elderly

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which will also be able to provide some practical functions.

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Now, they're all made possible by a host of sensors

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which are built in here.

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We've got two directional microphones, so we can tell

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where the sound's coming from, two cameras here in the eyes that

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are going to be tracking emotions, a sonar sensor here in the nose,

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which should stop the creature from bumping into anything.

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There are also cliff sensors here, so it shouldn't fall off

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the edge of anything.

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And light sensors all around can tell whether it's night or day,

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so it'll act appropriately - because if you give it a stroke,

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you can see just how excited it can actually get.

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The bot is already available to developers, with a consumer unit

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expected later this year.

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The aim is that by then, it'll feature facial recognition,

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voice control, CO2 smoke and temperature sensors

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and a constant record function.

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Long-term, the hope is it'll become a therapy robot for those

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with a variety of conditions, including autism and dementia.

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So whilst the dog, rabbit - or is it a cow?

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- keeps an eye on you, it's also gonna be synching up

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to its companion app and also this bracelet, which can sense falls.

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Now, it'll keep track of all that data and if anything

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is out of the ordinary, if a user was to break

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their routine, then it could make chosen relatives or friends aware.

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But whilst part of its role is caring, it's also intended

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to provide emotional engagement.

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It's definitely watching.

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A huge amount of effort has gone into the body language -

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the blinking, the way the head moves and the tail moves,

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and the things like that.

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And that is really as important as the other functionality.

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And the trouble is with a lot of these humanoid robots, they're not.

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And, you know, they can't behave like a human.

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They can sort of wave their arms around in a mechanical manner,

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but they don't have that what the Japanese call

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kawaii, or cuteness.

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And when I started working in robotics, I realised

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that there was a real opportunity to make, you know, mechanical

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devices emotionally engaging.

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This isn't the only device in this space.

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Parihug has just completed a successful Crowdfunding

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campaign and aims to provide long-distance cuddles.

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Yes, long-distance cuddles!

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The idea is that the wi-fi connected toy can give a hug via another

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of the creatures to loved-ones you miss - especially

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parents away from kids.

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Of course, none of this is about robots replacing the need

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for real pets or human company, but if they could offer a little bit

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of support when it's needed, then how can we really think

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that's an issue?

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Night-night!

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Huh...

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Hey, how you doing?

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You all right?

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Yeah, man, I'll join you in a bit.

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Have you heard the one about the alien who walks

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into a bar and says...

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Mmm, I'll have a blue milk.

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Hmm...

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Put it in a glass...

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Now, as impressive as this bizarre setup looks,

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these motion-capture suits and stages are actually the standard

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way that Industrial Light Magic uses actors to give realistic

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movements to computer-generated principal characters.

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Thank you very much.

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No worries!

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You were very frightening.

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Ah, good.

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I mean, he's a nice dad, I think, Jalien.

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Even the fact that Jalien here is being rendered in real time

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for the director to see during the performance

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is not in itself new.

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I remember back in, I think it was 2007,

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I went to ILM in San Francisco.

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I wore the ball suit and they turned me into a green alien,

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live right there in the studio, and I was absolutely

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blown away by it.

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Ten years on, just look at this guy!

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Hey, check me out!

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Hi, man.

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Hey.

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What is brand-new here is the live rendering

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of Jethro's facial expressions.

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Now, although facial capture has been a thing for a few years,

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so far, the director hasn't been able to see the results

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on the character's face during the recording.

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You know, our big focus was around the face and being able to capture

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the face at the same time as the body.

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And we can determine what expressions are happening each

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frame, and then directors can see that live and make decisions

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on if the character is working as a character,

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whether his expressions need to change in terms of the model.

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In order to process an actor's expressions quickly enough,

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only one face cam and a few Mo-cap dots are used.

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This simplified live data is then compared to a higher resolution 3-D

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capture of the actor's face that's taken beforehand on a rig called...

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The Medusa.

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Now, unlike other facial-capture systems we've seen which take

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still images of the actor's face, here they're shooting

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video of my face moving into and out of each emotion.

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That means that the facial recreation and the animations

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will look a lot more natural.

0:18:390:18:41

The live, high-quality rendering of both face and body can also

0:18:410:18:44

become a magic mirror on sets to help the actor

0:18:440:18:47

to get into the part.

0:18:470:18:57

So I feel like this is how I get to know who I am,

0:18:570:19:01

what my limitations are, what my body is, what my girth is,

0:19:010:19:04

how it moves, how it sort of doesn't move.

0:19:040:19:07

You see I have a nice heavy arm.

0:19:070:19:09

Whether I have to consider that weight.

0:19:090:19:11

And I guess it really does make you move differently when you're

0:19:110:19:14

on set, if you're playing a half-tonne alien,

0:19:140:19:16

to you being a svelte young man.

0:19:160:19:18

It totally does, as long as I engage my imagination.

0:19:180:19:21

Because if you can see, I'm totally beautifully...

0:19:210:19:23

HE LAUGHS.

0:19:230:19:27

You know, in a way that Jalien can't, my wet suit moves in a way

0:19:270:19:31

that maybe that arm and that outfit doesn't move.

0:19:310:19:34

It's good showing you my, er, my stuff.

0:19:340:19:44

So here, they're bringing digital characters to life for the director

0:19:440:19:47

and the performers to work with, but there are ways to bring digital

0:19:470:19:51

characters to entire audiences live on stage.

0:19:510:19:53

In fact, it's something we tried out on our Click Live show

0:19:530:19:56

at the end of last year.

0:19:560:20:01

So when we heard that the Nederlands Dans Theater was dabbling

0:20:010:20:03

in this kind of stuff too, we sent Nick Kwek -

0:20:030:20:07

Click's finest ballet dancer - to investigate.

0:20:070:20:16

Welcome to the world of modern dance - conservative,

0:20:160:20:18

traditional, disciplined.

0:20:180:20:19

But at the same time, innovative, rebellious,

0:20:190:20:21

perpetually striving to push the envelope.

0:20:210:20:22

Today, choreographers and dancers of NDT are working with a new medium

0:20:220:20:25

for artistic expression.

0:20:250:20:26

They're taking two excerpts from their show called

0:20:260:20:28

Stop Motion and adapting it to include holographic projections.

0:20:280:20:44

It's almost an IMAX-type experience, without the need

0:20:440:20:46

for glasses, you know?

0:20:470:20:53

Every detail has been carefully crafted.

0:20:530:20:54

They're projecting a falling white giant and dust

0:20:540:20:56

onto a black backdrop, playing with the themes of light

0:20:560:20:59

and dark and destruction.

0:20:590:21:06

Technology needs to embrace the art, but not with sticking

0:21:060:21:09

out all by itself.

0:21:090:21:10

It needs to help.

0:21:100:21:11

It's like a glove to the art, to the expression.

0:21:110:21:16

The holographic illusion is created with the help of two very high-end

0:21:160:21:19

projectors and a special lightweight mesh screen.

0:21:190:21:21

By playing out videos on the front mesh and back wall,

0:21:210:21:24

it creates an optical illusion of 3-D depth.

0:21:240:21:26

For the performers, it's actually a really good rig to work

0:21:260:21:29

with because they can see the projections on this side whilst

0:21:300:21:33

they're on stage performing.

0:21:330:21:44

With other systems, you don't really get that same wall...

0:21:440:21:47

It's really realistic, actually!

0:21:470:21:48

Also handy if you fancy giving a very expensive

0:21:480:21:51

PowerPoint presentation, as one of these Novo Line rigs costs

0:21:510:21:53

anywhere from 15 grand for a week's rental.

0:21:530:21:56

We wanted to have a full space for a dancer,

0:21:560:21:58

a performer, a CEO to talk.

0:21:580:22:00

We wanted that you could touch it.

0:22:000:22:02

The other system, you can't touch it because it's smeared,

0:22:020:22:04

it's a fragile, reflective surface.

0:22:050:22:06

This, you can wrap around, we could create curves with it.

0:22:060:22:09

And of course, it can go to massive sizes.

0:22:090:22:11

And to take the whole thing even further, they're introducing

0:22:110:22:14

real-life flour to complement the virtual stuff,

0:22:140:22:16

blending the boundaries between real and virtual.

0:22:160:22:18

Sort of.

0:22:180:22:18

We've got a bit of technical difficulty.

0:22:190:22:20

But luckily, Paul's in his pants.

0:22:200:22:22

So, a man in pants will surely save the day!

0:22:220:22:25

Problem solved, dancer into position, stand by lighting,

0:22:250:22:27

music, cue projection...

0:22:270:22:28

And action!

0:22:280:22:40

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE.

0:22:410:22:46

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE.

0:22:590:23:03

Actually, instead of complementing the effect, I think it actually

0:23:030:23:06

detracted from it a little bit.

0:23:060:23:08

Yep.

0:23:080:23:10

Especially when the flour went onto the back wall.

0:23:100:23:12

Yep, yep.

0:23:120:23:13

Because then you go, well, that's now totally fake.

0:23:130:23:15

It's no magic.

0:23:150:23:16

It's no magic.

0:23:160:23:18

Creating an extra audiovisual experience, though,

0:23:180:23:19

adds to the complexity of live performance.

0:23:190:23:21

It's not just the type of visuals, it's the scale, the brightness,

0:23:210:23:24

how the lighting interacts with the mesh, how it blends

0:23:240:23:27

with the real-life action on stage.

0:23:270:23:29

But, no pain, no gain.

0:23:290:23:34

To be artistic with technology, it's not easy and it's

0:23:340:23:36

a lot of experiences, and a lot of mistakes to see,

0:23:360:23:39

so what do we want to do?

0:23:390:23:41

So it needs time.

0:23:410:23:42

I think this ballet, for example, has the beauty itself.

0:23:420:23:46

Mmm.

0:23:460:23:48

You don't need this. Mmm.

0:23:480:23:50

Well, that's it for this week.

0:23:500:23:52

Don't forget, we live on Facebook and on Twitter...

0:23:520:23:54

Thanks for watching.

0:23:540:23:55

Thanks for having us at your place, Jalien.

0:23:550:23:59

Hey, no worries, man. Hmm...

0:23:590:24:02

Now, get out of here! Yeah.

0:24:020:24:04

Hmm... Out!

0:24:040:24:06

Move, scoot, mm! Huh...

0:24:060:24:09

Jackass, huh? Yeah.

0:24:090:24:11

I've gotta go, bye.

0:24:110:24:12

Huh. Huh.

0:24:120:24:15

Hi there.

0:24:360:24:36

We've got some decent weather coming up to start the weekend.

0:24:360:24:39

With high pressure in charge, we'll have some sunshine to start

0:24:390:24:42

the day on Saturday.

0:24:420:24:44

Mind you, some of you might have been woken in the night by the odd

0:24:440:24:48

A comprehensive guide to all the latest gadgets, websites, games and computer industry news. This week, a look at how technology is being used to look after the elderly.


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