This week, Myriam Chamoun and Martyna Bartel, graduate students at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, began trials for their research on the use of augmented reality in cultural heritage spaces. They are using a prototype of the AR Magic Lantern (ARML), which is being developed by the UPF node of the EMIL group as their Lighthouse Project. Ms. Chamoun is studying different strategies for guiding a visitor through the museum to points of interest, while Ms. Bartel is comparing usability and engagement between the AR Magic Lantern and traditional, smartphone-based AR.
Their research is part of a Master’s program at UPF called Cognitive Systems and Interactive Media (CSIM), and is supervised by Narcis Pares and Paul Hine in the Full-body Interaction Lab. CSIM students use a wide range of XR technologies to study cognition and behaviour. In this case, they are using a projective AR device to study the impact of XR in a museum setting. Their work is a continuation of research performed by the lab since 2017, thanks in no small part to a fruitful collaboration with MUHBA: The Museum of the History of Barcelona. The first prototype of the ARML was developed for and tested in Refugi 307, a citizen-made air-raid bunker, while the current research is conducted in Barcino, an ancient Roman city whose remains are still standing beneath the streets of modern Barcelona.
The Lab intends to incorporate the findings of their research into the design of a rich AR experience for visitors to the site of Barcino. While those experiences are currently being designed specifically for a future version of AR Magic Lantern, the results should also contribute a better understanding of design practices and usability concerns for all XR deployment in a cultural heritage or similar space.