St Andrews HCI Research Group


SMART: Scotland’s Museums Augmented Reality Tourism
In 2009, five of the top ten visitor attractions in Scotland were Museums or Galleries. There were in excess of 4.3 million visits to such sites. 61% of UK and 63% of overseas holiday visitors visited museums, art galleries or heritage centres. We know that visitors cannot access the entire collection of historical artefacts each site has. Consider the Museum of the University of St Andrews (MUSA), which opened in October 2008. This museum puts on display to the public hundreds of the finest treasures from the University’s collection of over 112,300 artefacts. However, due to space limits what you can see during a visit to the museum is less than 1% of their collection. This is the key stakeholder problem that the SMART project aims to address. Our promising idea is to research and develop SMART, a system for mobile applications, which through the use of our novel computer vision methods can recognise the objects in a museum and provide richer context. Firstly, this context will be to related artefacts which are not on display but for which we have imagery or text. Secondly, we aim to deliver a digital-physical experience where the visitor retains focus on the artefacts by delivering overlaid (personalised) multi-lingual text, audio or video in addition to links to other exhibitions or from other venues. Importantly, our form of marker free, infrastructure-free mobile Augmented Reality will not require any changes and additions to the museum itself. This platform also allows us to build up a rich information base about patterns of visitor behaviour with respect to displayed and digital only artefacts.