One of the projects that’s most excited me at the BBC is Lab-UK. Essentially, it’s a platform for doing mass-audience experiments which are scientifically valid (there’s other cool stuff going on under the hood, but that’s what we’re doing with it right now). Our latest mass-participation experiment is Brain Test Britain, which seeks to find out if “brain training” actually works, by getting people to play brain training games online and tracking their progress over time.
This is hugely ambitious, not least because we’re trying to get thousands of users to stay with a longitudinal experiment. But the designers of the experiment (Professor Clive Ballard of the AlzheimerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Society and Kings College, London, and Dr Adrian Owen of the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge) hope that by getting thousands of people to complete the experiments, we can get proper scientific papers and proper scientific understanding.
There are more Lab-UK experiments in the pipeline. Suffice to say that what with this and our Earth suite of products (Earth News, the just-redesigned Out of the Wild and Nature’s Library) there’s some fantastically cool stuff going on here. And none of it could happen anywhere else.