Tag Archives: smartphone

MIA’s AR FAQ (and a bunch of other letters) explained

17 Jul

In my past AR blog post I wrote about how other museums were using AR (augmented realty), and showed you a few clips of the crazy things people have been creating with this type of technology. But I have yet to explain how MIA will be taking this brand new technology and giving our exhibits a bit of a twist. Today’s blog is all about how MIA has envisioned our first steps into this augmented world…

The MIA’s mandate is concerned with both preserving the objects we hold in public trust and educating that public about the culture and people those objects came from. And the public we serve is not necessarily limited to only those visitors who can physically enter our space, we have also reached out to an online public through our social media platforms.

Supplementing traditional museum practices with new technology has allowed us to both reach a larger audience and expand points of access that people can approach the collection from. While not everyone currently owns a smartphone and therefore won’t be able to take advantage of the AR we have running now, smartphones are becoming more and more popular as mobile companies create increasingly affordable data plans and the price of the phones themselves decrease. It’s not hard to image that in the future smartphones (or something even more high tech) will become the mobile standard.

Incorporating AR into our exhibits is not about being flashy and following trends. We’re really dedicated to offering more options on how to view and interact with our collection. All the different points of access MIA has available allows for the visitor to create their own experiences and connect with the collection on a more personal level. Just as some people might not want to read text panels, some people might not want to wave their phone over an entire collection – but the choice is there to be made.

Our current AR channel for the MIA’s latest exhibition Christian Morrisseau: New Directions 2010-2012 includes additional paintings, audio interviews of the artist, and images of his working process. And all smartphone uses have to do is follow these simple steps:

  1. Through your smartphone market place, download the free Junaio Augmented Reality application
  2. Open the app and scan this special QR code
  3. Select the channel MIA Christian Morrisseau New Directions Exhibit
  4. Slowly wave your phone across various Christian Morrisseau paintings to reveal extra content

Ta da!

Curious to see what else you can find hidden in the digital relm?
You can checkout the Christian Morrisseau: New Directions 2010-2012 exhibition on now in our new Aboriginal Voices Gallery.

– posted by Brittany Holliss, MIA Visitor Services Officer


Let’s go on a SCVNGR hunt!

14 Jun

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh!!!!
Best internship day  EVER!
*giggles for five minutes and high fives some staff*

I am just so excited about the MIA’s latest smartphone adoption – SCVNGR!!
Pronounced “scavenger”, our latest piece of museum tech is a gaming platform. That’s right, I get to play games at my internship.

A lot of companies and cultural institutions are getting behind this thing because it’s a fun way for visitors to interact with their environment and get free stuff. Different SCVNGR locations offer games (known as “challenges”) that ask the visitor to either answer questions or perform tasks. These challenges are worth points that can be redeemed for awesome free stuff.

You’re not even limited to playing these  games in one place.
SCVNGR also has “treks” which are a series of challenges spread over multiple areas. For example, you could find a coffee trek and visit various cafes and coffee  shops, accumulating points as you move along. And you don’t have to worry about completing a trek in a single go, you can stop and start whenever you want without losing your progress.

How to Play:

1. Download the SCVNGR app from your Android Play Store or iPhone App Store
2. Create an account
3. Use the search bar to type in the name of a store, or restaurant, or I don’t know… a museum – might I suggest the Museum of Inuit Art
4. Select the “Challenges” tab and scroll down to see a list of different games in the “Feeling Adventurous” section
5. Choose one of the challenges and follow the instructions to earn points that go to getting rewards
6. Different rewards require  different points. Once you’ve earned enough to points, you’ll be promoted to redeem them. Simply click the “Info” tab and and select the reward check mark towards the bottom of the screen.
IMPORTANT: You will only be allowed to redeem rewards once so be sure to show your activation screen to staff members a.s.a.p or else you’ll lose out.

If you don’t feel like doing wonderfully fun and silly games there are some other ways to get points:
“Check-in” = 1 point
Kind of like Foursquare, but… not?

“Social check-in” = 2 points per friend when you BUMP YOUR PHONES WITH ANOTHER PHONE TO ACTIVATE POINTS!!
Seriously, you hit each others phones like mini hip-checks or chest bumps or high fives… (can you tell we were super excited by this feature and played around a lot with it?)

BUMPING PHONES!! And being totally professional about it.

“Say Something” = 2 points
Here is where you can either write a quick note, an idea, or even a mini review.

“Snap a Picture” = 2 points
Take a picture of something you find pretty, or interesting, or pretty interesting.

In case you don’t trust me and my brief SCVNGR 101 lesson, the good people who actually run the software came up with this handy video tutorial.

I’ve already set up a few challenges and created a reward which the staff has successfully completed (and giggled over as well) so things are ready to go if you want to grab your smartphone and start playing! That’s what I’ll be doing until home time tonight 🙂

– Posted by: Brittany Holliss, MIA’s Educational Assistant

Your Smartphone Summer Travel Tool

22 May

Wow! This past weekend sure was crazy here at the Harbourfront!
The Queen’s Quay Terminal building was full of families, couples, and anyone curious to see what we had in store for the holiday (and maybe take in some free air conditioning as well).

Here at MIA we were really happy to see kids getting creative at our craft table or excitedly pointing to our video screens and proudly announcing, “We’ve been there! We’ve seen that!”. And as a lot of my internship duties revolve around the use of new media and technology, I was particularly happy to hear the adults mention how they found our museum through smart phone apps.

Above: iPhone screenshots of Baffled by Travel’s “The Best of Toronto” (Version 1.6.3)
and BeeLoop’s “At a Glance” City Guide tour for Toronto (Version 3.3)

If my post about QR codes, and my sneaky hints pointing towards AR markers didn’t already give it away – I am really into tech. Not enough to start writing everything in binary code, but enough to read the work of Nancy Proctor while on the subway, or waiting for a friend, or in a coffee shop…

Currently I’ve been reading a book she’s edited featuring essays about how museums are using smart phones to achieve various exhibition goals, but as the above mentioned visitors have pointed out – these same smart phones are great for promotional and way-finding purposes as well.

Above: iPhone screenshot of GPSmyCity’s “Toronto Walking Tours and Map”

Now that vacation season is starting to pick up and people have more time to explore the city, it will be interesting (at least to me) to see HOW people have been planning their trips. The MIA has an interesting hurdle to overcome because we share our location with an entire mall. So when people look up 207 Queen’s Quay West, they find themselves amongst everything from shops to restaurants to our Inuit museum. One of my summer projects will be coming up with a way to easily direct people to our museum so visitors don’t end up thinking they’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere. Apps might be one direction we could go, but there are other options as well all of which I learn more about as I finish Nancy’s book.

Posted by: Brittany Holliss, MIA’s Educational Assistant