At Bristol Digital Futures Institute, we’re developing a £29m+ globally unique research facility right in the heart of Bristol, one the most productive tech clusters in the UK. These detailed descriptions explain how they will work, why they are special and the difference they can make to your team and projects.

Coming soon

The first phase of this development, due to open in 2022, is the conversion of two former 200 year-old industrial buildings into our new research hub, home to new world-leading facilities.

When fully complete in early 2023, up to 250 people will work in our specialist spaces, collaboration areas, training and meeting rooms.

Drawing of neutral lab space Neutral Lab

A one-of-a-kind experimental collaborative space where project teams from different sectors, backgrounds and disciplines can co-design their working environment, develop their project and new sociotechnical research.

Data Centre

powerful data centre hosting compute, data and advanced network services and applications. Researchers will be able to bring along experimental hardware and perform experiments and research.

Artist impression of the reality emulator Reality Emulator

A sector agnostic digital twin to drive the creation of future digital solutions with advance telecommunications technologies, open data platforms, powerful data centre infrastructure and immersive technologies.

creative continuum studio resize Instrumented Auditorium

The 150m² Instrumented Auditorium will help researchers, partners and the public test new digital content and co-develop new technology with a modern, digitally connected projection room. 

creative continuum MyWorld Creative Continuum

Advanced studio and virtual production spaces equipped for the future of production, dissemination and evaluation of screen based media.

Collaboration and partnership spaces

If you're interested in working alongside world-class researchers and facilities, join us in our vibrant partnership and collaboration spaces. Email bdfi-enquiries@bristol.ac.uk

The Nomadic Network

Our researchers are developing a cutting edge Nomadic Network (“5G in a box”) that can deliver advanced functionality. Unlike traditional networks, it is designed to be moved around – hence the term “Nomadic”.

Features of the network includes ultra-low latency, high density of users, guaranteed quality of service through network slicing and software-defined management and support for edge computing.

The system uses advanced hardware programmable platforms and high-performance commodity computing servers to offer a generic and programmable platform for deployment at the edges of a 5G network. It allows different verticals to deploy and execute on-demand, application specific and customised low latency network functions at these edges. It also provides a point of convergence for various wireless and wired 5G technologies and computing platforms that can be customised for specific services and technologies. ‌

By putting experimental technology into the hands of end users and asking, “What do you want to do?” and “what can we do together?” we can rapidly accelerate innovation and redress digital inequalities in communities or businesses who might typically be restricted by existing provision (or lack thereof). The nomadic network is a flexible, programmable and transportable tool that inspires end user creativity to the limits of our collective imaginations.

So far, we’ve launched a Community Fellowship scheme with several of our partners to explore how we can accelerate community-led innovation through development and provision of the node for use in these contexts. We’ve also begun exploring opportunities to deploy the nomadic node for everything from high-quality immersive theatre experiences, to  synchronising complex data from across a smart city, or supporting connectivity in areas where access is poor.

If you can imagine a possible case for using  ‘5G in a box’ we’d love to hear from you at: bdfi-partnerships@bristol.ac.uk.

The next phase

These BDFI-affiliated research areas are planned for opening in 2025:

Cyber suite

An experimental security operations centre to enable modelling of cyber attacks and the evaluation of human operators’ responses to real-scale incidents in crisis. The Cyber Suite will interface with the existing testbed facilities of the Bristol Cyber Security Group for cyber security of critical national infrastructure and IoT environments.

Digital Health Node

A globally-unique fully instrumented and secure space where companies, the public and academia can work with patients to co-design and evaluate new health technologies. The facility supports the research, design and evaluation of technologies including wearable sensors, low power communication networks and computer vision systems for characterising health behaviours, symptoms of disease and quality of movement. A particular emphasis will be to provide a facility where measurements can take place in naturalistic environments over extended time periods, including overnight, thereby yielding data which is representative of real-world data and unbiased by observer effects

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