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Belfast based Big Motive creates BBC pandemic mobile app

  • Belfast based design and innovation studio Big Motive has designed a mobile app which takes centre stage in a new BBC Science production.

    The BBC Pandemic mobile app is featured in a groundbreaking citizen science experiment attempting to simulate the spread of a deadly flu outbreak. The result of the experiment will be revealed in the soon-to-air TV program Contagion! The BBC Four Pandemic’ Thursday 22nd March 9:00pm. The show will be fronted by mathematician Dr Hannah Fryand disaster medic Dr Javid Abdelmoneim.

    The government has ranked pandemic flu as one of the most critical threats to the UK. To predict the impact of the next pandemic more accurately than ever before, new data is needed - and lots of it. The problem for Big Motive’s design team was – ‘how might we collect as much data as possible and do so accurately?’

    The groundbreaking BBC Four experiment uses an the pandemic app, created  Big Motiveto ‘infect’ a mass audience of users whilst tracking their movements and social interactions over 24 hours. This vital potentially life-saving data will be used in the programme to simulate the spread of a highly infectious disease. The show producers hope to paint a picture of what might happen when—not if—a real pandemic hits the UK. The data collated from the app will help improve public health planning and outbreak control.

    The show centres on Dr Hannah, using the app to mastermind the experiment. Adopting the role of Patient Zero, she walking the streets of Haslemere in Surrey to launch the outbreak. Dr Javid finds out why flu is such a danger to society. He meets the researchers trying to discover what makes some people more contagious than others and visits a factory that will produce vaccine when the next pandemic virus emerges. Armed with the information gathered and the results of the BBC Four experiment, Hannah and Javid make a shocking revelation.

    “We're delighted to have worked with 360 Productions & BBC on this landmark research study and TV documentary. Our focus has been to make an app that allows the widest possible range of people to get involved in the experiment” says Stephen Shaw, Big Motive’s UX Director. “It’s incredibly gratifying to have contributed creatively to such a monumental piece of research”

    Contagion! The BBC Four Pandemic was commissioned by Cassian Harrison, Editor, BBC Four and Diene Petterle, Commissioning Editor, Specialist Factual. It is produced by 360 Production for BBC Four with support from BBC Northern Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland with design and delivery of the mobile experience by Big Motive.

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