Researchers at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) are testing Google Glass’ capacity to augment visitors’ experiences at museums and galleries. Test subjects visiting the Manchester Art Gallery were able to catch a glimpse of the wearable technology’s capabilities by accessing supplementary information on the George Stubbs painting Cheetah and Stag with Two Indians. Snapping a photo of the piece allows the tech spectacles to recognize the painting and launch the relevant digital media.
What’s the Big Idea?
Wearable computers have been in development for years, with prototypes ranging from spectacles to wristwatches, and speculation about their practical applications have enthralled the tourism industry.
For Dr. Timothy Jung of MMU’s department of tourism management, Google Glass has the power to completely reinvent tourism and revolutionize the museum experience. Dr. Jung mentions the physical barriers that come between museum visitors and the art — guidebooks and smartphones, for example — but the really groundbreaking opportunity Google Glass presents to the art world is the chance to welcome artistic laypeople into a previously restricted, esoteric domain. With Google Glass, folks wouldn’t need art history degrees to fully appreciate a museum visit (or blubber on like pedants) and people whose educations did not include fine or classical arts would find a place set for them at a table that had been previously reserved for the privileged. Let’s hope the art world remains open to this sort of technological egalitarianism.
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