Manchester Art Gallery tests Google glasses which can recognise and interpret artworks

By Culture24 Reporter | 07 May 2014

Could a pair of glasses be about to change the way exhibits are seen? Testing is underway in Manchester

A photo of a man holding up a pair of 3d glasses
Dr Timothy Jung tries Google Glass© Manchester Metropolitan University
Text, spoken word and song interpretations of artworks could be received by visitors through special Google glasses if software tests being carried out by local academics and California-based software developers succeed.

Eschewing guidebooks and handheld guides, the team are experimenting on three paintings at the gallery, each of which can be “recognised” by a pair of glasses. Test visitors will give feedback, with plans to use the technology on sculptures and three-dimensional works.

“I think Google Glass is going to be huge in every industry,” believes Dr Timothy Jung, of Manchester Metropolitan University’s Department of Tourism Management.

“For tourists to have two hands free when they walk around the city with that device, yet still be receiving all the guidebook information in an improved format will be quite a different experience.

“It’s a great tool for engagement and customer experience.

“We are identifying what would improve the visitor experience in Manchester.”

Cecilia Abadie, of 33 Lab Inc in the US, is working with the university on the software, which is thought to be the first of its kind in Europe.

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