Touching allowed: New technology brings museum visits to life

Elatec s CF Card Reader von Elatec with integrated aerial (PresseBox) ( Munich, Germany, )
RFID readers and RFID tags from industrial partner Elatec for the Münster School of Business Administration and Economics: Twelve students have been able to realise their "Mobile Visitor Information System" (MoVIS) project. MoVIS has now successfully passed a field test in the spacious Mühlenhof open-air museum. The individual exhibits and locations are marked by low-cost RFID tags. All visitors need to do is to touch or approach these with the portable PDA computers issued to them so that the integrated RFID readers can identify the individual exhibits and automatically play associated multimedia content such as text, images, videos and audio.

The interactive high-tech museum guide has arrived: "It was astounding to see how young and old people alike pounced on the devices," explains business data processing specialist Joachim Schwieren, who developed MoVIS together with twelve bachelor students under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Gottfried Vossen, who holds a chair in information technology. The recipe for success: Ease of use and simple implementation in museums were the top priorities when developing MoVIS. The RFID technology from Elatec provides the basis for PDA-supported museum visits with no media disruption between real objects and the digital museum guide. Instead of having to turn away from the object in order to select and access small menus and buttons on the PDA s screen, all visitors need to do is go up to the RFID tag, or possibly also touch it, to bring to life the multimedia presentation. An intuitive solution that is also fun to use.

"The MoVIS installation impressively illustrates how the RFID solution inspired the developers to embrace the conceptual possibilities," says Stefan Haertel, head of Elatac Vertriebs GmbH s RFID business division. "At the same time, it also offers the operator, the museum, tangible benefits." As well as adding value to the exhibition through the interactive guide, it is also possible to statistically analyse anonymous information, such as how long a visitor stopped at an exhibit. In this way, future exhibitions and tours can be optimised to match visitors interests.
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