Chunky guidebooks for tourists could be replaced with a virtual tour of the city’s Art Gallery using Google Glasses, thanks to research that is being carried out at Manchester Metropolitan University.

A team from the University’s Department of Tourism Management, led by Dr Timothy Jung, are testing ways to use Google Glass to provide visitors to Manchester Art Gallery with information about the artworks they are viewing.

It is believed to be the first time that work like this has been done on using Google Glass for tourism in Europe.

The team have chosen three paintings at the gallery that can be “recognised” by a pair of Google Glasses.

The testers will look at the pictures through the glasses and experience additional content given in text, spoken word audio and even song form.
They will then give feedback on whether the technology improved their experience.

The plan is then to test the technology on sculptures, to see if it is possible to make the software recognise three-dimensional artworks.
Improving visitor experience

Dr Jung said: “We are identifying what would improve the visitor experience in Manchester. I think Google Glass is going to be huge in every industry. It’s a great tool for engagement and customer experience.
“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, it will be quite a different experience.”

The project came about following a visit from California-based Google Glass software designer Cecilia Abadie, of 33 Lab Inc, who is working with the MMU team to develop the necessary software.


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