MeSch is a hardware and software platform for cultural heritage professionals that allows to design, experiment, and install interactive exhibitions that combine the physical experience of the visit with multimedia contents.
Internet of Things for Cultural Heritage
Thanks to meSch and the innovative Internet of Things technologies (IoT), the visitor can access multimedia content by interacting in a natural way with the environment or just by manipulating physical objects, like items of the collections or their replicaS.
Even without technical expertise, curators can create personalized stories (i.e. personalized by language, age, knowledge of the topic, theme of interests), that make visits to the exhibitions interesting and engaging as they express the visitor's interests.
User experiences are logged in anonymous form. The cultural heritage professional can obtain information on how the exhibition has been used and how much has been appreciated; this information can be then used to tune and improve the effectiveness of the created exhibition.
meSch Show Cases
Four museums in Europe have adopted the technology developed in this project and over 20,000 visitors have used it.
At the Museo della Guerra of Rovereto in the aircraft shelter the visitor can relive the experiences of the First World War thru the stories brought back to life by the protagonists of that period.
At the entrance, the visitor receives a pebble characterized by a colour depending on to the visitor's language. Five interactive stations allow to play multimedia content. The visitor can choose which content to play by putting the pebble on a specific slot on the case. The pebble records the content watched by the visitor, so at the check-out, the visitor receives a printed postcard about the stories that he has seen.
The Atlantik Wall
In Holland, the exhibition The Atlantik Wall allows a visitor to choose a narrative, among those proposed, by selecting a smart object that explores points of view and experiences narrated by either German soldiers, civilians or officials: the narration changes according to the chosen point of view.
meSch is composed of an online Cloud platform, reachable at the address www.mesch.io, and a set of devices to be installed in the exhibition space. Devices and the online platform communicate through standard protocols of the Internet of Things technologies (MQTT, HTTP): this enables also third parties to integrate custom developed devices.
The following devices are currently available:
- meSch ioBox, a multisensor kit that integrates up to 5 NFC readers, 5 buttons, and a proxymity sensor.
- meSch ioHub, which coordinates the devices and interact with the online platform. Any Windows 10 PC or miniPC can be used. The suggested option is INTEL NUC, which already powers several exhibitions.
Devices can be freely combined in number to support the desired interaction.
The meSch Authoring Tool
The www.mesch.io cloud platform allows to create and autonomously manage your interactive experiences.
Cloud technology allows you to be always connected, to make dynamic changes, to have simple maintenance and quick testing under the direct control of museum curators who combine exhibition content with the digital one. Load your content, define the rules that specify which content should be played on a specific location and your story is ready to be installed in the exhibition space.
meSch ioKit devices allow to test and install in the exhibition space the recipes created on the Cloud platform.
- The meSch ioBox includes up to 5 NFC readers, 5 touch buttons and a proximity sensor.
- The meSch ioHub is the coordinator node. It is possibe to use any Windows 10 PC or miniPC. A suggested solution is the Intel NUC, which combine reasonable costs with the roboustness of Intel products. The connections among devices are done via USB, WIFI, or Blutooth, accordingly to the installation needs and to the availability of Internet connection.
The adopted open protocol enables also third party to extend the system with new devices.
A Personalized Souvenir
The visitor experience does not end with the visit as, at the exit, he may receive a personalized souvenir based on what he has seen.
Later additional content can be provided online, thus keeping the user in touch and offering further information.
The meSch European Project
meSch (Material Encounters with Digital Cultural Heritage) is the result of a European Project funded within the 7th framework program. Visit the project web site http://www.mesch-project.eu to see partners envolved and the activities of the project.