Using Augmented Reality (AR) to Create Immersive and Accessible Museums for People with Vision-Impairments


Friday, April 16, 2021: 2:00pm - 3:30pm - - Paper Session

Nihanth Cherukuru, National Center for Atmospheric Research, USA, Rayvn Manuel, SI/National Museum of African American History and Culture, USA, AJ Lauer, NCAR, USA, Tim Scheitlin, National Center for Atmospheric Research, United States, Bhoomika Bhagchandani, Independent Researcher, USA

Published paper: Using Augmented Reality (AR) to Create Immersive and Accessible Museums for People with Vision-Impairments

Augmented Reality (AR) technology has been predominantly used to develop applications that visually augment physical spaces. However, the enabling technologies of AR such as image detection and Simultaneous Localization and Mapping could be used to augment spaces using other sensory modalities such as audio and haptics. This presentation focuses on an application which utilizes this approach to serve low-vision and blind visitors, by allowing them to autonomously and safely explore exhibitions and galleries. The application enables museum administrators to add auditory virtual tags to real world objects/images that are triggered based on the proximity of the marked object to the visitor’s mobile device running the application. This implementation has the benefit of providing context-aware information that is delivered autonomously and with minimal infrastructure modification, thus addressing the limitations with AI and sighted-agent based solutions. The motivation for the project, overview of the underlying technology, implementation details of a prototype followed by limitations and challenges of this approach will be presented.

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