Thu, Oct 11, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Science center tailors virtual tours to age, education

By Jenny W. Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The National Taiwan Science Education Center yesterday unveiled the country's first computer-based tour guide system, which is designed to customize tour content according to the age and educational level of the user.

"By using radio frequency identification technology, a simple swipe of a card will get you all the information you need on each exhibit," said Brian Shen (沈柏延), chief operating officer of Tatung System Technologies Inc, the company behind the innovation.

The "Hands Free Multimedia Interactive Tour Guide System" is also able to record what the user learned on the tour and send the information to an e-mail account.

The 1.2m-tall, box-shaped machine is provided at 20 locations in the center. Visitors to the center can use membership cards to activate the virtual tour guide.

At the end of a tour, visitors can take a small on-screen quiz of what they have learned and choose if they want to go to the next level of the quiz or move on to the next exhibit.

"The purpose is to tailor the tour to accommodate the cognitive ability of visitors. Sometimes it is hard for volunteer tour guides to gauge the level of the students and explain the exhibits in their language. The new system takes care of that problem," Shen said.

Center director Chen Yi-hsing (陳益興) lauded the new system, saying it enhanced the quality of the tour and helped students to get more out of the exhibits.

The system is only available in Mandarin, but Shen said he hopes to add English functions as well as other features.

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