Computer curator

Researchers at the University of Haifa and ITC-irst have unveiled a handheld smart museum guide, enhanced by artificial intelligence, that will guide visitors and supply information on each exhibit.


Researchers at the University of Haifa and ITC-irst have unveiled a handheld smart museum guide – enhanced by artificial intelligence – that will guide visitors and supply information on each exhibit.



The device will be able to tailor a museum visit to the personal preferences of the user and, at the end of a visit, will know which exhibits interested the visitor and which ones did not.



The guide can pinpoint a visitor’s location in a museum, play video clips and explanatory presentations, and enable communication with friends in another part of the museum.



As a visitor approaches an exhibit, the guide identifies the exhibit and asks the visitor questions about it. The visitor can then choose the subjects that interest him. During the visit, the guide, which is a handheld computer, learns about each visitor’s interests and tailors further questions and information to his interests.



A group of up to five users can SMS messages about the exhibits. When the SMS recipient approaches an exhibit, he will see the message relating to it and decide if it interests him.



The interactive guide summarises each visit at the end and asks each visitor to fill out a virtual questionnaire and give recommendations to improve future museum visits.



‘This is innovative use of basic research in the field of artificial intelligence,’ said Prof. Martin Golumbic, from the University of Haifa.



‘Our vision is that in another few years people will be able to come to any site that has installed this program with their own personal handheld computers, download the relevant information about the place, and begin a private tour. This program will know each person’s interests based on previous use of the program and will be able to offer information that will most likely interest the user.’