A BBC-backed project that will allow viewers to 'direct' live broadcast events is being readied for the 2012 London Olympics.

The EU-funded Research and Development (R&D) project, dubbed My-e-Director 2012, will let viewers select people or focal points of interest within a live scene. They will receive a personalised video
stream of the event into the home or over a mobile network.

Graham Thomas, project manager at the BBC's Production Magic research department, said: "My-e-Director 2012 uses technologies such as facial recognition, radio-frequency identification (RFID), tracking of athletes by shirt number and a whole range of other data to automatically select
video feeds based on viewer preference. The idea is to combine a host of information and do intelligent things with it."

The research consortium, including the BBC, Athens Information Technology and IT provider ATOS Origin will develop a prototype for 2010 with a commercial solution timed for the Olympic Games London 2012.

The project builds on work conducted since 2004 by the BBC into "automated coverage", a means of automatically capturing content from a scene.

Athletics is the obvious application, but any event with multiple, simultaneous areas of interest could also benefit. Potential examples would include the London Marathon, the Glastonbury Festival or a royal coronation.

"Wimbledon is an example of an event featuring multiple games on different courts at the same time," says Jigna Chandaria, senior research engineer. "Viewers could select streams from a list of matches,
by player nationality or choose only matches that are closely fought. Our first step is to understand the mechanics of the process and how it can scale to meet consumer demand."