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Interactive Museum Tele-presence Through Robotic Avatars

Objective

The current project aims at the development of an interactive tour-guide robot (TOURBOT) able to provide individual access to museums' exhibits and cultural heritage over the Internet. TOURBOT operates as the user's avatar in the museum by accepting commands over the web that directs it to move in its workspace and visit specific exhibits. The imaged scene is communicated over the Internet to the user. As a result the user enjoys personalized telepresence in the museum, being able to choose the exhibits to visit, as well as the preferred viewing conditions. At the same time TOURBOT will be able to guide on-site museum visitors. TOURBOT has several advantages for both the museum visitor and the museum itself.

More specifically, the objectives of the project are the following:
(1) develop a robotic avatar with advanced navigation capabilities that will be able to move (semi)autonomously in the museum's premises,
(2) develop appropriate web interfaces to the robotic avatar that will realize distant-user's telepresence, i.e. facilitate scene observation through the avatar's eyes,
(3) facilitate personalized and realistic observation of the museum exhibits, and
(4) enable on-site, interactive museum tour-guides.

Work description:
The execution of the TOURBOT project will proceed in nine concrete steps:
(1) Management; technical and administrative project management that will ensure the smooth cooperation of project partners towards the achievement of the goals of the project.
(2) Dissemination and Implementation; compilation of early dissemination and exploitation plans and end-of project provision of actual achievements in dissemination and realistic exploitation possibilities.
(3) Application specification; definition of application requirements from a technological and user's point of view.
(4) Site information; investigation of technological issues regarding the internal robot representation of its workspace and construction of the maps and information repositories of the two museums.
(5) Hardware configuration; development of the mobile robotic platform, the base workstation for off-board processing and the communication modules for their interconnection.
(6) Avatar navigation; development of the navigational capabilities required by the robotic avatar.
(7) Interfaces; development of web and on-board interfaces that will enable distant and on-site users to be guided by the robot in the museum premises.
(8) Integration; hardware and software integration of the developed modules that will result in a fully operational system (TOURBOT); extensive laboratory experimentation.
(9) Assessment and Evaluation; Validation of the TOURBOT system in real-world conditions (i.e. museum premises) and assessment of its performance.

Milestones:
The expected result of this project is the development of an interactive tour-guide robot (TOURBOT), able to provide individual access to the exhibits of a museum over the internet.
The project milestones are:
M1 (month 6): Release of Dissemination and Use Plan; Application specification completed.
M2 (month 15): Hardware and software modules developed, multimedia site information acquired.
M3 (month 20): System integration completed.
M4 (month 24): System validated and assessed, end of project.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

FOUNDATION FOR RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY HELLAS
Address
Vassilika Vouton
17671 Iraklio, Crete
Greece

Participants (6)

ALBERT-LUDWIGS-UNIVERSITAET FREIBURG
Germany
Address
Fahnenbergplatz
79085 Freiburg
BYZANTINE AND CHRISTIAN MUSEUM OF ATHENS
Greece
Address
Vas. Sophias 22
16344 Athens
DEUTSCHES MUSEUM BONN
Germany
Address
Ahrstrasse 45
53175 Bonn
FOUNDATION OF THE HELLENIC WORLD
Greece
Address
Pouloupoulou 38
11851 Athens
RHEINISCHE FRIEDRICH-WILHELMS-UNIVERSITAET BONN
Germany
Address
Regina-pacis-weg 3
53113 Bonn
THEON MOBILE PLATFORMS SA
Greece
Address
7 Stratigi Street
15451 Nea Psychico Athens