AMBAVis – Access to museums for blind and visually impaired people through 3D technology

The development of innovative 3D-technologies and multi-sensory methods has opened up opportunities in the past to make visual objects, graphics and images accessible to visually impaired (VI) people.

The EU-Erasmus+ project AMBAVis sees itself as a driving force for the further development of tactile and three-dimensional methods of mediation in museums in order to improve cultural access for blind and visually impaired people.

Background

Museums constitute an essential part of the European cultural landscape. However, they primarily address the visual senses and blind and visually impaired people are therefore excluded from a wide range of services. But times are changing. Innovative 3D technologies and multi-sensory approaches are offering new solutions for blind and visually impaired people by enabling them to get in touch with exhibits and allowing them to participate in educational programs offered at museums. The project AMBAVis acted on these approaches and refined technical solutions, in order to allow an understanding of how to improve them and to generate more affordable tactile models for museums in the future.

Description

One aim of the AMBAVis project was to understand how to create tangible out puts using new 3D digital technology that would be of value to blind and visually impaired (VI) visitors now and in the future. Over the course of the project we exchanged ideas, utilized existing prototypes and developed new methods to present objects physically and virtually. To this end, four different digital haptic tools have been developed and tested by the blind and visually impaired focus group in two different evaluation workshops in or der to assess how beneficial these technologies are for the target group at present, how they can be improved and what their future potential may be. The project consortium agreed upon two artefacts which were translated and augmented by the four different technologies. One two-dimensional and one three-dimensional object were chosen as they are quite different, in their perception, in their translation process and in how different the translations are from the source object.

As improving access to museums for blind and visually impaired people is a multi-faceted issue, a comprehensive approach was chosen to also address the economic and legal aspects. The economic impact of the use of 3D technologies and tactile models in museums will be measured in order to show, that there is a broader value added in terms of gross value added and employment arising in the EU-28. Finally, questions concerning copyright issues occurring in the context of tactile models created for blind and visually impaired visitors in museums will be analyzed and clarified, as they have a high practical relevance when implementing such projects.

Project partnersAMBAVis4

  • Economica Institute of Economic Research
  • Blinden- und Sehbehindertenverband Österreich (BSVÖ)
  • Deutscher Blinden- und Sehbehindertenverband e.V. (DBSV)
  • Manchester Museum
  • Österreichische Galerie Belvedere
  • Trnka, n.o.
  • VRVis Zentrum für Virtual Reality und Visualisierung Forschungs-GmbH

More information on the project is available on www.ambavis.eu.