AppResearch

Recommended Relics

In collaboration with: National Museum of Rural Life Scotland

datadata representationdata transactionsdesigndesign in actionvalue transactions

Recommended Relics is a smart audio guide created for the National Museum of Rural Life Scotland using Android phones and Near Field Technology. The guide provided additional information on objects by the visitor scanning RFID tags with a smartphone through an audio tour and most importantly also recommended other artifacts the visitor might be interested in, the guide allowed users to rate objects in the museum and also email themselves the objects that they had scanned at the end of their visit. This was a pilot project and we now aim to develop it further so that once a user scans their first object, the database would suggest a series of paths to take them through the museum linking objects to each other according to themes, dates, social history etc. Over time the possibility of the tours will become more complex as participants link their own objects according to personal ties. Recommender systems are popular with sites such as Amazon, who use social analytics, buyers’ profiles and habits to propose future purchases. This new technology would be of particular benefit for when visitors are short of time when going to a museum and just want to see things that are of special interest to them rather than spending a day in the museum, so proves useful for visitors just in a city for a week end. It can also link to further resources they can look into when they get home or encourage them to keep a dialogue with the museum. Visitors would also be able to create their own tours of museum collections and become a curator for a day, this data will also provide the museum with information on the sorts of objects that are popular with certain groups as they can store and analyze data of objects which have been scanned.

Throughout the museum we placed stickers saying “Tap Me” which hid the RFID chips underneath, all the visitor had to do here was hold the guide on top of the sticker and this automatically triggered the guide to start playing audio relating to the object. The visitor can also see an image of the object, text and when they scroll down they were also be able to give the object a star rating so we can see what the visitors favourite objects are.

Our longer term aims for the app would have the potential to be able to roll out across different visitor sites. This new technology would be of particular benefit for when visitors are short of time when going to a large museum and just want to see things that are of special interest to them rather than spending a day in the museum, so proves useful for visitors just in a city for a week end. It can also link to further resources they can look into when they get home or other associated tourist attractions or encourage them to keep a dialogue with the museum. Visitors would also be able to create their own tours of museum collections and save these on the system so that they can be shared with others.

Recommended Relics was a 3 month research project (Jan-31 March 2013) developed by Edinburgh College of Art by Jane Macdonald, Chris Speed, Duncan Shingleton. Technology programmed and made by Ben Blundell and graphics design by Crazy Horse Creative.

Researchers:

Jane Macdonald, Chris Speed, Duncan Shingleton

Photo: By MacHarty [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

National Museum of Rural Life Scotland

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