Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The genesis of audioguides

It looks like infrared audioguides are older than I had previously thought. On 'Musematic' a few days ago, Loic Tallon published the first of a promised series of blog entries on handheld museum audioguides, including the link to a 1952 newsclip about the system developed by the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. From what I see in the newsclip, it appears that the system uses an infrared transmitter to send signals to the handhelds, much the same way as the so-called 'cutting edge' Optima audioguides I wrote about a few months ago at 'Museum 3.0'.
This means that audioguides haven't really come that far since their childhood after the second world war.
I look forward to hearing more about this research project during the next few months. Great intitative, Loic!

1 comment:

Loic said...

Thanks for yr shout-out about the blog posting, Daniel

A clarification/correction though(!), early audio guide systems - including the Stedelijk system - didn't use infrared: it was a closed-circuit radio broadcast system. I've posted a more detailed tech. explanation, together with hardware photos and a translation of the dutch commentary to the newsclip, on Flickr at

But I agree with yr comment, all considered, audio guides haven't really evolved that much over the last half-a-century!