David Attenborough’s latest gig will be as a hologram that forms part of a U.K. government drive to promote 5G technology.
Attenborough will be the face of an Augmented Reality (AR) app that will be released alongside BBC series “The Green Planet” in 2022, where the revered broadcaster and natural historian’s likeness will be projected onto scientifically accurate images of the plants he is discussing.
Attenborough’s “A Perfect Planet,” (pictured) produced by Silverback Films, is currently airing on BBC One.
The app is part of a “Green Planet” 5G AR consortium between BBC Studios, 5G mobile network operator EE, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Talesmith and Dimension Studios, led by the immersive content studio Factory 42. The consortium has won £2.2 million ($3.01 million) in funding as part of the 5G Create competition backed by the U.K. government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), which is exploring how 5G technology can be used by a wide range of sectors, including the creative industries.
Factory 42 will co-produce the project with BBC Studios in association with natural history producer Talesmith. Mobile telephony provider EE will deploy its 5G network and edge computing, while Dimension Studios will provide the volumetric capture video technology that will create the holographic images in the app.
The DCMS has so far funded nine 5G projects with £28.3 million ($38.7 million), following a £35 million ($47.9 million) funding round in 2020.
The current round of funding will see 5G put to use in some of the U.K.’s biggest venues. In London, O2’s Project Vista will explore how it can provide instant, multi-angle replays via smartphones during stadium events.
Leeds-based TV production company Candour TV will test 5G’s ability to broadcast high-quality live content and transfer huge video files from a variety of remote locations, extreme terrains and weather conditions. Meanwhile, The Eden Project in Cornwall will explore how 5G and 360-degree video can enhance the visitor experience and allow anyone to enjoy the exhibits and talks. On the Isle of Wight, people will be encouraged to take up yacht racing using immersive virtual reality experiences.
“5G Create is about exploring new and inventive ways we can use 5G to give British industries a competitive advantage,” said U.K. Minister for Digital Infrastructure Matt Warman. “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.”
The U.K. has, to date, been 5G-sceptic with various conspiracy theories suggesting that the technology causes coronavirus, and leading to a spate of 5G mast burnings in 2020.