Feb 16, 2017

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Museum Guidance Service for the Visually Impaired Demonstration Experiment an Industry-first

Tokyo, Japan - Panasonic Corporation will conduct a demonstration experiment of its museum guidance service, which will enable people with visual impairments to enjoy works of art in February, 2017.

In museums today, attendants and volunteers offer guided tours and workshops are held to help people with visual impairments enjoy artwork. But this has been difficult for museums, for example securing the necessary staff. In this demonstration experiment, audio content created for the visually impaired will be automatically played back on bone conduction headphones depending on where the visitor is within the museum, enabling visually impaired people to enjoy their time in the museum without assistance. In this demonstration experiment, Panasonic will explore the utility, the value this system will have, and what a fun experience in the museum may mean for the visually impaired.

A demonstration experiment of the "Museum Guidance Service for the Visually Impaired" system

When visitors approach a work of art, their smartphone will receive a signal from the highly directional beacon installed above the artwork. Then the smartphone and relevant app will play back audio guidance for the artwork through the bone conduction headphones. Bone conduction headphones enable visitors to continue to hear what is going on around them, enjoy the ambience in the museum, and make their way safely through the space as well.

The audio guidance to be played back by the dedicated app was created in collaboration with the voluntary group, "Verbal Imaging Museum Tour with Visually Impaired People," and "ART & PART Co., Ltd.", a company with extensive experience developing audio guidance for museums. Information provided includes details such as the size, composition, colors, and texture of the artworks, which will help visitors imagine what the artwork is like even though they may not be able to see it. Panasonic is first in the industry(*) to develop a museum audio guidance service for the visually impaired using location information.

*According to Panasonic research

Demonstration experiment summary

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