Techno-News Blog

November 29, 2011

Understanding Art? There’s an App for That

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 12:15 am

by DAVID ZAX, Technology Review

The smart phone has delivered blows to entire industries: I don’t reckon I’ll ever be buying a stand-alone GPS unit again, for instance. A report in the New York Times shows how the smart phone is disrupting that most quiet of businesses: the museum. Museums aren’t known as the most high-tech of places. But for years, visitors to museums have enjoyed virtual tours using “audio wands,” those funny phone-receiver-shaped devices you hold up to your ear, plugging into it the code next to that Caravaggio for the backstory on all that splattering blood. The audio wand, though, might just be an endangered species. Two New York museums have just debuted mobile apps paired with new exhibitions: the American Museum of Natural History’s free “Beyond Planet Earth” app, and the Guggenheim’s $3.99 “Maurizio Cattelan: All” app. According to a source of the Times, fully half of the members of the American Association of Museums “will be using mobile devices in some way” by the end of this year, and a “cottage industry of technology companies focused on museum apps” appears to be emerging (fewer than one in 20 museums say they have designed their own apps, though both the AMNH and Guggenheim are among them). ┬áMuseum apps can do a variety of things audio wands can’t, adding animations, video, or even a level of augmented reality. Pointing your phone at an illustration of the solar system causes a 3-D model to pop up in the “Beyond Planet Earth” app, which the Times calls “kind of cool,” if not so informative.

http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/helloworld/27365/?p1=blogs

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