Augmented reality seems to work well in museums, where the public is ready and willing to try out new immersive technology. Now that technically driven pallet is getting a bit bigger.
On Wednesday, the Knight Foundation announced fairs with which five national museums can convince visitors with compelling exhibitions. The cash prizes are combined $ 750,000 in addition to coaching by Microsoft.
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A total of 500 museums competed for the money that became in July offered by the non-profit Knight Foundation, which in the past had tackled social issues such as online extremism with technology grants.
Selected museums are already being trained in Microsoft's immersive software and hardware in Redmond, WA, where Microsoft has its headquarters. While on campus, museum representatives were given access to various Microsoft platforms and devices.
One of the museums – the American Museum of Natural History – has given us a glimpse of what the compelling exhibition could look like. The famous art facility shared an image of a museum visitor wearing a HoloLens 1 (see top of this page) while manipulating a floating mask. With the aid of the augmented reality device, the museum hopes to provide more context and information regarding its collection instead of relying solely on traditional identification labels.
Winning museums also have the option of using Azure Kinect from Microsoft, a camera system and developer kit that can be used to capture 3D objects and motion.
Beneficiary museums are also familiarized with the AltspaceVR app from Microsoft that the software giant acquired in 2017. The social network and meeting place of the VR are often used to show off films, live VR performances and, you guessed it, art. The app can also capture images of people in a busy space (such as a virtual museum) and show everyone as an avatar.
Last year, Microsoft brought museum artifacts "to life" by using the HoloLens to show video context bubbles popping up around a model of the French monastery of Mont-Saint-Michel (see video above).
Whether the grant-winning museums in question want to sharpen their exhibits, attract more visitors or just want to distract children from itching to touch their expensive displays, they now have some serious technology to do that.