The Hero Feeling with Red Bull

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Sensum, in collaboration with Red Bull Media House, sought to explore the emotional performance of the elite athlete, particularly the extreme athlete. We would then visualise their data in a way that could be communicated across Red Bull's various media channels, emotionalising content.


Client Job


March '16

Body and Contextual Data

Heart Rate, GSR, Breathing Rate, Voice Analysis, Environmental Audio, Video (inc 360 video)


  • Red Bull Media House


We had two major challenges going into this project, the first was separating emotional readings in the data from the noise of physical exertion, considering environmental factors such as temperature, altitude, speed, and vibration etc. The second challenge was syncing multiple data streams in time with the athlete's performance out in the wild.


Prototyping of our bespoke app, was extremely rapid. We of course employed our Emotion AI toolkit, but had to consider a range of devices we hadn't dealt with before, such as thermal vests with built in biometric sensors and other wearables that wouldn't affect the athlete's performance. We tested devices with athletes from Ulster University's Sports Science department; performing exercises over different ranges of movement before taking our findings to a wider population in our 'Generalisation' stage. We were seeking 'floor' values in the data sets, where emotional signals can rise above the noise of exertion, and 'ceiling' values, wherein exertion and movement noise were likely to take over. With these established baselines we entered our 'Local Heroes' stage with parkour athletes, stunt pilots and skydivers. 

Stage 1: Experimentation in the Sensum Labs

Stage 2: Testing the athletic body

Stage 3: General public take to the field


After smoothing, grouping, averaging, aligning, scaling and inverting our values we found it told the story we suspected it might- major emotional moments are clearly distinguishable in the data. Emotions such as anxiety, fear (and even terror), triumph, exhilaration and relief. We brought these findings into a second phase with Ireland's leading mountain bikers and created the world's first emotional VR experience in the process, bringing the project to a place where emotional metadata could flow through multiple media channels, at home or in stadium, for experts and enthusiasts, bringing us all closer to the Hero feeling.

Stage 4: Taking it to the ultimate wild level

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Ben Bland

Chief Operations Officer