CS388 – Week 2 – Three Ideas

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Idea 1: Joseph Moore Museum Guided Tour

This project is an attempt at expanding the accessibility of the Joseph Moore Museum, especially to patrons whose first language is not English. The project is to create an app which will scan QR codes beside a museum exhibit, and provide information on that exhibit in the preferred language of the user. Audio narration for each language would extend accessibility even further. Additionally, exhibit traffic could be obtained by counting the QR scans for each exhibit, allow for a degree of analytics. To make the project fit the bill for a capstone, it would be necessary to plan from the beginning with generalization in mind. Rather than build specifically for JMM, I would build such that any museum could plug in their data and utilize it.


This project will utilize QR scanning technology, Unity for mobile app development, as well as web hosting to offload the exhibit information and audio files from the mobile device. 


This project will require a mobile development suite, most likely Unity given I have some familiarity with it. I will also need to host a web server for the files related to each exhibit (text description for each language selection, audio files, photos, etc). The app will utilize a modern smartphone with a camera of decent resolution, and internet connectivity.


Before I begin, I will begin a conversation with the museum director about the project. Since my project will be associated with an established organization, it is important that the project goals align with the organization’s vision. I will also begin searching for people who would be interested in translating exhibit info from English to various languages such as Hindi, Spanish, and Japanese. Meanwhile, I will begin working on a prototype app with the goal being to successfully scans QR codes and displays different data based on the QR code scanned. After I have a working prototype, I will begin work on setting up a web server to host the exhibit information, and linking that to the app. Towards the end I will polish up the UI experience.


My project will be providing new features and technology to the Joseph Moore Museum in order to expand its capacities for language accessibility. 

Potential Issues/Difficulties

One of the most glaring issues with this project is scope. My unfamiliarity with web hosting combined with limited experience with mobile app design means making an accurate timeline will be quite difficult. Building a polished mobile app is time-consuming, and might not fit within the time-frame of the project. 

JMM has a lot of exhibits, which means there is a lot of text to be translated and audio to be recorded. Finding people up to the task of translating and recording could prove to be quite difficult. 

One last issue that has been brought to my attention is accessibility with respect to patrons who aren’t comfortable downloading apps. The most widely accessible version of this project is a website with pages for each exhibit directed to by QR codes. The shift of the project then becomes about managing the collection of translation data, rather than stretching my abilities in computer science.

Idea 2: Long Range RFID Guided JMM Tour

The basic idea here is to implement a multi-lingual app-based automated guided tour of the Joseph Moore Museum using long range RFID tags. While the app is open, it will scan for RFID tags present at each exhibit. When your smartphone is within a couple feet from the exhibit, the audio for that exhibit will play through the user’s headphones or speakers. Since exhibits at JMM are close together, it may be more practical to make the tags closer range, requiring the patron to touch their phone to the RFID tag. This project would require phones equipped with NFC capabilities. An extension to this project would be investigating how well google translate works on the exhibit descriptions. I will send google translate data from English to Russian of a few exhibit signs to Egor for accuracy analysis.

Idea 3: GPS-based Guided Tour of Earlham + Virtual Tour Using Drone Footage/Imagery

For this capstone idea I would design a guided tour of Earlham which utilizes GPS data to trigger informative audio clips as you pass Earlham’s various buildings. Multilingual accessibility is again crucial to this project. It would allow visitors who may not understand English fluently to take an informative tour of campus on their own time. This project would pair nicely with a virtual component as well. Using drones, I could capture video simulating a walking tour of campus, and stop at each location to play recorded audio describing each building. A simpler alternative would be stitching many still images taken in sequence, similar to Maps Street View; however, live video captures the liveliness of campus better, and would pair nicely with VR. Because high quality video isn’t cheap, a middle-path approach could be using street view style images to navigate from building to building, but have each building be associated with a 360 degree video clip to enjoy while the informative audio is played.