Student wins praise by transforming the art gallery experience with technology | Middlesex University London
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    Student wins praise by transforming the art gallery experience with technology

    13/08/2012
    A new computer system which allows art galleries or exhibitions to bring their displays to life on visitors smartphones has won praise for its student creator.

    Conventional guidebook brought into the 21st century 
     
    A new computer system which allows art galleries or exhibitions to bring their displays to life on visitors smartphones has won praise for its student creator.
     
    Middlesex multimedia and computing student Ashley J Wheat has been impressing the industry and his lecturers alike with a system he developed for his final year project which provides a modern twist on the traditional exhibition guidebook, allowing people to use their phones to scan a barcode next to a piece of art.
     
    The 24-year-old student wanted to make art galleries and exhibition spaces more engaging and his system allows people to download a smartphone application, scan a barcode known as a QR Code (quick response) beside an exhibit and receive information on the artist and the exhibit.
     
    Alongside instant access to information like website addresses, videos, audio and photos, users can also share and 'like' pieces of art on social media or send them to friends.
     
    The system, titled Mimir, impressed Middlesex University so much that they invested in its development so it could bring the University's own student exhibitions to life.
     
    Whilst users of the application get a better exhibition experience, Ashley also designed Mimir to benefit gallery owners by providing data about the behaviour of their visitors including the number of times a barcode is scanned, how many times it is shared over Facebook and the behaviour of individual visitors.
     
    Ashley, from Kings Cross, said: “It can enable exhibition organisers to see which pieces are the most popular and help them make future recommendations to visitors.  This information can be invaluable in helping gallery organisers evaluate the behaviour of visitors.”
     
    “The system got a really enthusiastic reaction from the artists I’ve used it with and allowed them to engage with their audience.” he added.
     
    Ashley hopes to further develop Mimir through a PhD at Middlesex University into a commercial product, which can be used at any gallery or museum across the country. He has even been invited to speak at a Digital Engagement with Art Conference in London in November and is having a paper he wrote on his project published.
     
    Photo: Students trying out the QR code at Middlesex University

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