Monday, April 2, 2007

Boston Freedom Trail Reloaded

For those of you who are planning to visit the Boston Freedom Trail in the next few months, you're in for a special treat: A group of young talented people will help you learn more about the points along the trail by watching a video, listening to audio or other pieces of content that will be available on the web, to your own mobile phone. You will be able to learn more and thus enjoy your visit much more.

They will also attempt to add useful information like what's the nearest restaurant/coffee shop/T station/...

The project is called "Freedom Trail Reloaded" or otherwise has also earned the name DiMO (website, Blog).

You ask yourself, how will I get to those videos/audio clips? the answer is, you will (hopefully) see codes on, around, or in the site. If you have a camera phone, you can download ConnexTo code reader here, and then all you need to do is point at the code to scan it, and it will take you to the video/audio. If you're not sure if your phone is supported, look here.
Here's a video that shows how to use ConnexTo.

It's important to add that as a guideline, the team will be very considerate of the surroundings when placing codes near touristic sites. This is part of the project: make the codes useful, but not intrusive. One wonderful example is an interesting relationship that evolved between the directors at the King's Chapel and Ashley, such that the codes will actually help the chapel in distributing information to the visitors.

Also, the guys who are creating this will be around, I think, during the weekends with their phones to help you try this out and also get your feedback.

So go for it and enjoy!

For those who have read so far, here's some background on this project: Leading the project is Yasmine Abbas, a lecturer at the Architecture department of the Wentworth Institute of Technology. Here's a quote from m-trends blog that I identify with, regarding Yasmine's work: "Sometimes one discovers blogs like rare pearls, usually not very known, a bit tucked away between the feeds of our information forest, yet often refreshing, thought-provoking, and stimulating our mobility senses. I stumbled a couple of times upon Yasmine’s blog while “re-searching” on augmented reality and mobility subjects." Yasmine herself is a rare pearl and its an honor to work with her.

Yasmine is leading a team of young, high energy, extremely bright students who are (for this project) looking at enriching a typical touristic experience with multimedia content, and connecting the tourists to it.

The students also have to think of their course theme, which gives the content and the way they think of it all an interesting twist.
Also involved in this initiative are Nextcode (providing the code scanning side of things) and uLocate. The team will be using Sprint phones to create the content and try the code scanning on site with tourists. These phones provide great video and audio user experience that every tourist will definitely appreciate.

Code scanning as means to enrich the tourism experience is not a new thing; one other initiative is using another code format and the project is called "Semapedia". The reason I'm writing this is because the more people gain benefit from using the codes to access content, and find it useful, it s in everyone's benefit.

The exciting difference in this project is that the students seem to have picked up on the codes to make them interesting and non-obtrusive to the friendly touristy experience. And so they are thinking what can be done with codes. There's a couple of very interesting examples. The team is extremely talented and I'm eager to see what new ideas they will bring on.

To me this is a very exciting initiative: its good for everyone in the game, including the tourist. All that's left to say is good luck to everyone!

Please check out the DiMO (website, Blog) occasionally for updates.

1 comment:

Carmin said...

This month I am completing a similar project called Handheld Histories as Hyper-Monuments. My project is an artwork that uses the HP iPAQ 6945. We are using windows mobile 5 because I was unhappy with our attempts to program cellphones to have the functionality I wanted. You can see our handheld simulator online at