East Sussex celebrated for its ground-breaking inventions in BBC programme

Dr Shini Somara is presenting the BBC programme Invented in the South East, which will be aired on Friday, June 23, 2017
Dr Shini Somara is presenting the BBC programme Invented in the South East, which will be aired on Friday, June 23, 2017
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Physicist, engineer and science reporter Dr Shini Somara will explore the extraordinary role East Sussex has played in the way humans interact with technology in the BBC programme Invented in the South East, scheduled to air this Friday (June 23) on BBC One at 7.30pm.

The South East has long been at the forefront of innovation with a host of breakthroughs and experiments taking place across the region since the early 20th Century.

From John Logie Baird’s televisor to the multi-sensory movie technology being developed at the University of Sussex, Dr Somara takes us on a technological tour to discover which everyday objects we take for granted have been invented in the South East.

The first stop is Hastings – home to John Logie Baird from 1924. It was here that Logie Baird invented the televisor – a device made from a range of materials including an old hat box, darning needles and ceiling wax.

The televisor was responsible for transmitting the very first pictures wirelessly and became the world’s first commercial television set.

Next up is Sussex-based businessman Michael Aldrich who developed a very early forerunner for online shopping in 1982.

Having observed the way Ceefax and Teletext worked, Aldrich was inspired to explore how our television sets could connect us to the outside world.

He linked the TV of pensioner Jane Snowball to her local Tesco store via her telephone and the idea of online shopping was born.

Next it’s over to Brighton, the home of digital communications company Victoria Real who were pioneers of interactive television in the 1990s through their work on Channel 4’s hit show Big Brother.

By inventing a system where footage from the Big Brother house could be viewed online via the Channel 4 website, Victoria Real were responsible for the collision of television and the internet, which has changed the way we view content forever.

The growth of technological companies and digital start-ups in the region, particularly in Brighton, has had a huge impact on the area and Dr Somara meets Phil Jones from Wired Sussex who explains how the vision of innovators in the area has led to an injection of £1billion to the Brighton economy.

Finally Dr Somara looks at the very latest developments in the way humans interact with technology.

She meets the Hove resident who has made his whole house ‘smart’ and able to perform tasks via voice activation and visits the University of Sussex where scientist Marianna Obris is developing 9DTV – a multi sensory movie experience which works on all our human senses and which literally makes Dr Somara’s body hair stand on end.

“Our relationship with technology has been getting closer and closer and the ways we interact with it are getting easier and easier,” says Dr Somara.

“And while some may feel cautious about our reliance on gadgets, I’m interested to see the part the South East will play in their continued development.”

Invented in the South East is made by Factory Films Ltd for BBC English Regions. It will air on Friday, June 23, at 7.30pm and will be available on the BBC iPlayer for 30 days after transmission.