The potential of Google Glass explored in museums

Could this technology replace audio guides?
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Rebecca Atkinson
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Several projects have been exploring the potential for Google Glass to replace audio tours in museums.

Google Glass is a wearable device that can provide images and audio, as well as accessing the internet, through a small screen attached to a pair of spectacle frames.

A team at Manchester Metropolitan University’s department of tourism management has been testing ways to use this technology can provide visitors to Manchester Art Gallery with information about the artworks they are viewing.

Three paintings at the gallery can be “recognised” by a pair of Google Glasses, with wearers able to see additional text about the works and hear audio feedback. The university also plans to test the potential of Google Glass on 3D objects such as sculptures.

Timothy Jung, a senior lecturer in digital tourism at Manchester Metropolitan University, who is leading the project, says: “We are identifying what would improve the visitor experience in Manchester. I think Google Glass is going to be huge in every industry. It’s a great tool for engagement and customer experience.”

Google Glass has also been experimented with in the US. GuidiGO, a producer of mobile guides for museums and art galleries, has conducted several pilots and was recently selected by Google as one of five partners on the Glass at Work programme, which aims to encourage the development of applications for the Google Glass.

Next February, the New Museum in New York will launch a “visitor engagement app” using Google Glass.

The potential for Google Glass in museums was the subject of a recent discussion on the Museums Computer Group email list. One respondent said that it needs to be used for images, rather than text or graphics. Imperial War Museums said it was thinking about running a Google Glass tour.

Wearable tech will be the subject of Trendswatch in the September issue of Museums Journal



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