Automatic Audio Guide Senses Visitors Location- with App and BLE beacons.

An unique museum experience!

“It was exhilarating, I got goose bumps…”. Those were some of the reactions of the guests at the new Eldheimar volcano museum in Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland. The museum tells the story of the eruption on the island in 1973 when the town had to be evacuated in the middle of the night and the lava flowed over 1/3 of the town and ash covered the entire island and changed the landscape for good. The exhibits did not leave any one untouched, especially the older generation who now relived the catastrophic times forty years ago.

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Eldheimar Museum

The exhibition is designed by the artist Axel Hallkell Johannesson. It encompasses displays, sounds effects, videos, interactivity and audio guide together to form a memorable experience. The museum is built over ruins of one of the houses, which was buried under lava and was excavated last year for this purpose.

 

Automatic Audio Guide

A big part of the experience is that each guest has an automatic audio guide while he walks through the exhibition listening to stories and memories from the eruption and the aftermath. The audio-guide is automatic and senses where the guest is located and plays the corresponding audio-guide so the guest does not have to press any buttons.

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More than one hundred smart-phones with headsets are available to guests.  The visitor walks around with headphones and a smart-phone, the app shows  his location on the show’s map and plays the narration of the place where he is located.

 

The technology for an automatic indoor guide

The audio guide is a smartphone app designed by Icelandic entrepreneurs at Locatify. The app detects signals from over 50 Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) transmitters placed in the exhibition space and calculates the guest’s location. The BLE beacons were purchased from Kontakt.io, a Polish startup company.

Most Android and iOS smartphones manufactured in the last 2 years have Bluetooth Low Energy receivers built in so the guest will also be able to download the app onto his or her own phone.

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The potential for the location based automatic guide are enormous

The location technology deployed is new, and Eldheimar is the first museum in Iceland and Scandinavia where this technology is utilized. So far, only a handful of museums in the world are using this revolutionary technology for their audio guide. It is to be expected that many museums will in future make the use of similar technology. In this manner museum designers do not need to rely on signs or MP3 players at shows, but can put more emphasis on the visitor’s experience. Information regarding performances can instead be a narration in correct places or a display on home-screens.

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At the opening of Eldheimar Museum May 23rd 2014