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Cultural-Heritage Experiences through Socio-personal interactions and Storytelling App utilizing Augmented Reality for Museums

The Cultural Heritage Experiences through Socio-personal interactions and Storytelling (a.k.a. CHESS) is a project funded by European Commission, to provide an personalized interactive experience when attending museums and discovering artefacts. People from across Europe can create their own custom museum guide before leaving home.

As stated by European Commission, it utilizes “mobile (devices), augmented reality and geo-location technologies to turn an ordinary museum visit into a personal, interactive storytelling experience.”  I also engages younger generations in a more interactive and game-like setting when learning about the history of archaeological sites and artefacts.

The partners employed by European Commission are specialists in their respective fields, bringing the CHESS Project to fruition. DIGINEXT’s was employed for it’s Simulation and Virtual Reality Division. National Kapodistrian University of Athens was employed for it’s Department of Informatics and Telecommunications. Acropolis Museum was employed for it’s expertise in archaeology and is one of the largest museum located closest to an ancient site.

University of Nottingham was employed for their credible history as a research university and is ranked as one of the top universities in the UK. The Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics was employed for their expertise in image/model-based information technology. Real Fusio was employed for their expertise in complex virtual data visualization for e-learning. And finally, Cite de l’espace (City of Space) was employed for their expertise in exhibitions and has garnered over 14 million visitors since it’s opening.

Through the collaboration of these reputable organizations and €2.8 million investment, the CHESS experience was born. Again, the app provides an enhanced interactive experience (or augmented reality) when visiting museums. People are presented with an online survey, which collects their interests. The data is then utilized by museums to create a personalized tour-guide, linking them to a virtual character representative related to their interests.

When they arrive at the museum of interest, the CHESS app initializes a story-telling adventure for the person to embark upon. As the visitor travels throughout the museum, the app “adapts the story being told according to the visitors’ individual choices, updating their profile right through the course of the story.” At the end of the story, the visitor will find a virtual souvenir (video or picture) that they encountered throughout their own tour-guided story, to be shared with their friends and family.

The project has been featured at many events, which includes Museums & Web 2015, Museums in Motion, Digital Heritage 2015, International Digital Storytelling in Times of Crisis and Innovation Convention 2014, amongst other places. It has also been implemented at the Acropolis Museum, Stedelijk Museum and ICT 2013 exhibition.

CHESS project is a great example of how augmented reality applications can provide meaningful experiences, especially in a educational setting. With this innovative app, their is no reason to visit the museum and have fun doing so. Well, at least in Europe.

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