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18/03/2003

BBC Post Production create 'Robobug' for National Geographic

BBC Post Production's 3D design and digital effects team have created the computer graphics and effects sequences for a programme entitled 'Secret Weapons', which aired on March 16 on National Geographic in the US, and which is now to be distributed worldwide.
For the documentary, produced for National Geographic by Big Wave Productions, BBC Post Production has created 'Robobug', a computer-generated inch-long flying robotic insect, a futuristic fusion of technology and nature. The creature will feature in a dramatic reconstruction that shows how the use of Robobug technology could be deployed in the event of a fictitious terrorist attack on a US city both for surveillance and rescue scenarios.
'Secret Weapons' is set in the future and utilises computer graphics effects, macro photography and natural history footage, to show how military design seeks inspiration from nature to create revolutionary intelligence gathering devices and surveillance applications.
Working in close collaboration with Big Wave Productions, BBC Post Production have based the design of Robobug around various actions that it performs within the script and examined the movements of real insects to achieve a delicate balance between a mechanical design and natural insect-like characteristics.
Nick Stringer, producer and director at Big Wave Productions, said: "The aim of this programme was to produce an insight in to how cutting-edge technology is being inspired by natural phenomena, both in terms of design and application. We commissioned BBC Post Production to create a fictitious futuristic computer generated creature, which could function within heavily manipulated interior and exterior location footage."
Andy McNamara, computer graphics supervisor at BBC Post Production, added: "Robobug is a plausible looking robotic flying insect that is deliberately designed to fuse manufacturing techniques with insect morphologies. It has been a major feat to develop a creature that can not only mimic the movements of a robotic fly, but also looks natural against the backdrop of a highly digitally enhanced landscape of a US city.
"The programme illustrates how the military will take the best from nature and apply it to devices or weapons - BBC Post Production has already succeeded in concept: we've taken the best from nature and harnessed it with the most up-to-date technology."
(GB)
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