DIGITAL GUIDE: BLAZING A TECHNOLOGICAL TRAIL INTO THE FUTURE OF MUSEUM NAVIGATION
Spanning 430,000 square feet and encompassing an entire city block, Museum of the Bible has a team of technology and design experts developing a way to provide guests of diverse ages, interests and backgrounds a customizable roadmap to navigate the museum's massive eight floors teeming with unique content.
The digital guide is a powerful technology ecosystem for which a customized mobile device the size of a large smartphone serves as a guest's primary interface. Before embarking on their visit, guests can easily plot their entire experience and personalize content on the mobile device using a provisionally patented identification system. The device's preloaded content, working seamlessly with ultra-wideband indoor positioning systems and bespoke software, will guide guests through the museum so they can explore what interests them most in the time available for their visit.
How It Works
Museum of the Bible's digital guide is groundbreaking and unlike any personal touring system used by any museum in the world. This system (handheld devices, software, programming and media content, 10 languages, indoor navigation, touch tables) promises to become the new standard for museum navigation by equipping museumgoers with a device that personalizes, navigates and engages.
The museum will provide stations of 86-inch touch tables to customize guests' museum experience. When visitors set their digital guides on the tables, a menu will appear around the device, recognizing guests' names and providing a fun and interactive way to create a custom tour, reserve seats for some in-demand theaters, and manage rendezvous points for an entire group. These tables use cutting-edge technology to detect the specific location of the device on the table, track guest movement and allow drag-and-drop selections from the table to the digital guide for custom tour creation.
- Provisional patent filed for mobile device-to-large video recognition touch table
- 128 GB of content/5 GB additionally accessed material on digital guide handset
The digital guide handset has a 6.4-inch screen, all-day battery life, advanced camera for augmented reality and photo opportunities, and a variety of internal sensors to assist guests in navigating the facility and interacting with exhibits. The device implements a host of advanced technologies to encourage guest engagement and after-visit interaction including:
- Indoor navigation
- Indoor traffic monitoring
- 3-D audio
- Augmented reality
- 3-D objects
Some ways the digital guide will enhance the guest experience at Museum of the Bible include:
- Synchronized group tour sequences, interests and rendezvous points, while being intelligently and seamlessly guided through the museum
- Customized, running commentary that educates guests while efficiently guiding them to popular exhibits, theaters and attractions at optimum times, based on location and interests
- Plans for lunch or dinner incorporated and visitors' schedules auto-adjusted to account for changes in pace
- Key services such as directions to the closest restroom and pinpointing the location of family or group members within the building
- Language translations and assistance to hearing or visually impaired guests
- Natural, proactive navigation, directing guests to artifacts and exhibits, and away from congested areas
- Visual enhancements such as videos, interactive 3-D objects and augmented reality complementing artifacts and exhibit areas
- Specialized features for tour bus operators, school teachers and other group leaders, empowering them to better manage their groups' experiences, facilitate time limits, coordinate meal times and communicate with group members throughout the tour
- Ability for the museum to continually improve guest experience by managing traffic flow, identifying popular exhibits, detecting problem areas and notifying guests of upcoming events
- Ability to customize device online prior to arrival to ensure reservations at attractions and venues with limited seating capacity and streamlined personalization
The indoor navigation is a unique feature, as the ultra-wideband (UWB) real-time location service (RTLS) in development for use in the museum achieves an unprecedented level of indoor location accuracy. This accuracy is accomplished by simultaneously utilizing multiple custom anchors (antennas) along with the use of proprietary algorithms and systems. The proprietary algorithms compensate for environmental obstacles, allowing seamless position tracking across multiple areas and floors.
Utilizing the DecaWave DW1000 UWB chip, the problems inherent in other competing location technologies are avoided (GPS cannot be used effectively indoors; WiFi positioning has poor accuracy but high power usage; Bluetooth offers extremely poor accuracy; typical Received Signal Strength-based systems have poor indoor accuracy). The location system used in the museum can measure distance so precisely and inexpensively that this technology will be as transformative to indoor navigation as GPS has been for large-scale navigation. Museum of the Bible is the exclusive provider of this technology within the global museum market.
Lenovo will provide the personal handset device, its Phab 2 Pro, for the digital guide. Museum of the Bible is working with Ideum to develop the touch tables guests will use to schedule and personalize their experiences. Ciholas is developing the hardware for the indoor positioning.