CE38 - Révolution numérique : rapports au savoir et à la culture

Inclusive Museum Guide – IMG

Submission summary

The IMG proposal aims to design, prototype and test a portable multisensory Inclusive Museum Guide (IMG) that will a) make museums accessible to all, b) contribute to the promotion and accessibility of cultural heritage, and c) create in any visitor new aesthetic impressions while experiencing multimodal (tactile, audio and for some visual) representations of 2D art works.
The IMG device will be a prototype of a new multimodal digital programmable, interactive portable museum guiding tool, adaptable to any level of sight (totally blind to fully sighted). This tool will build, from images acquired with an ad hoc vision system, the multimodal representation of the imaged objects/scenes (audio-tactile map, audio-tactile representation of an artwork, and 3D reconstructed objects - mockups) and a specific force-feedback tablet (F2T).
Central to this work is the building of a new guide and the understanding of user experience. The new guide will provide access to artworks and to the museum space.
As far as access to artworks is concerned, the IMG provides, on the one hand, an essential tool for enriching access to 2D artworks for VIP (visually impaired people) within museums and cultural heritage locations. On the other hand, it provides a multisensory experience that enriches and deepens experience of 2D artworks in both VIP and sighted people. The IMG seeks to provide functional equivalence (and not sensory equivalence), based on the principle that enriched mental representations of artworks will emerge through concurrent sensory actions, motor actions, and verbal description. Thus, as an inclusive tool, the ad hoc technology – IMG device- may contribute to the emergence of new aesthetic impressions which can be shared with others, irrespective of visual experience.
As a guide assisting access to the museum space, the IMG, thanks to its original force-feedback tactile-haptic tablet (F2T), will be also a specific GPS. This GPS will assist the VIPs (and any person who judges it useful) in their independent and autonomous displacements indoors (to reach a room, an object) and outdoors (to reach and navigate the museum buildings).

In order to create the IMG academic prototype (TRL 4-5), the experienced project team, a combination of experts with complementary skills from all disciplines underlying the project will implement an inclusive design methodology with two iterations: the final prototype will be built on the results of evaluation of the first one.
Indeed, the IMG will be evaluated on-site in participating museums (e.g. the Bayeux Museum whose tapestry is registered as a Historic Monument (1840) and a UNESCO "Memory of the World" (2007); the Musée du Quai Branly, Paris (paintings by Australia’s aboriginal artists) or the Musée-Château d’Angers (tapestry of the Apocalypse). Several user associations and VIP schools will form ‘living labs’ and with their different level of visual impairments and different social and cultural backgrounds, will participate in the IMG evaluation. The evaluation will be done with respect of ethical and gender rules.
The project will be an opportunity to make scientific and technological progress which will be disseminated through ad hoc channels to all stakeholders (including the general public). The project is of high societal impact as it may lead not only to improvement of access to artworks for VIP but also be used as a new peripheral add-on for any portable device and as such used in gaming (serious and entertainment games0 and other navigation scenarios (shopping malls; airports)

Project coordination


The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


GREYC Groupe de recherche en Informatique, Image, Automatique et Instrumentation de Caen

Help of the ANR 402,000 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: January 2021 - 42 Months

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