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A British company is changing the way visitors interact with exhibits in museums, galleries, libraries, zoos and other cultural sites around the world with just a small piece of paper and technology.
Looking more like a work of modern art, small labels bearing specially generated QR codes – a digital mosaic which is interpreted by the camera on a mobile into a link to the internet – is the starting point for QRpedia’s technology.
A quick scan with a mobile phone of a ‘smart’ QRpedia code automatically detects a visitor’s language and redirects them to a Wikipedia article, formatted for the mobile screen and written in their preferred language.
QRpedia works on any camera phone – no proprietary app is required – allowing users to access large amounts of related information through their mobile phone. A typical museum display has less than a paragraph of text, often just in one language; QRpedia can provide visitors with more information in hundreds of languages.
Roger Bamkin, co-creator of QRpedia told Smart UK Project: “We are seeing e-volunteers giving thousands of hours supporting museums. Hundreds of new articles have been created in dozens of different languages. QRpedia represents a new way for cultural institutions to refresh their exhibits, providing high-quality information at low cost to all their visitors, despite budgets being squeezed.”
When Derby Museum removed a painting by Joseph Wright for cleaning, a QRpedia code was inserted in its place; visitors could view a high quality image of the painting and read information about the painting.
QRpedia has now been chosen to install ‘Smart QR Codes’ throughout exhibits by the UK National Archives, joining the National Children’s Museum, Indianapolis; The National Museum of Computing, Bletchley Park; Juan Miro Gallery, Barcelona; and other cultural institutes throughout Europe, Russia, and North America.