Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Technology Catching Up
What looks like work straight out of a Harry Potter book, comes the Node Explorer.
A paperback book-sized location-aware media player designed for use at historical sites, can provide an encyclopedia full of knowledge on its bright little screen. As an added bonus, your location shows up as a little dot on maps - just like on Harry Potter's Marauder's Map.
An excerpt provided by an actual user:
I'm standing on the vast southern lawn at Ashton Court, a stately home on the edge of Bristol, clutching a tiny electronic machine that mimics Adams's device quite eerily.
It's the size of a postcard and has a small colour television screen with earphones snaking to a slot in the bottom. When I walk a few yards to my right... ping! A bell shrills in my ear and the screen bursts into life.
A cheery voice declares, "You have walked into an interactive area." And what begins is a visitor experience like no other I've had. This tiny electronic prototype, called an Explorer, detects exactly where I'm standing within the 850-acre parkland surrounding Ashton Court, because it's equipped with an internal Global Positioning System (GPS) based on satellite signals, accurate to within about three yards.
On screen, I see myself as a little red dot moving slowly over the grass. Depending on where I wander, an entirely different heritage or cultural story is presented through a combination of pictures, sound effects and narrative, all related to where I'm standing and what I'm looking at.
I walk to the bottom of the lawn. Ping! With the sweeping fa├žade of Ashton Court spread like a film set, the screen shows me how the building has changed over the centuries, images building upon images as a voiceover explains why the place looks as it does now.

**Check out the full article HERE

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