A multimedia rich cultural heritage application

The Talking Walls® is a multimedia application that is able to be adapted to suit any heritage site or historical building. It has been designed for users to explore and navigate where they are visiting via a handheld device, mobile, or a kiosk / DVD. The Talking Walls® will enable visitors to learn about the history of a specific place / space and be able to see how this has changed over time.

The application recreates specific timeslices of a space, defined by the architectural changes to the property. The Talking Walls has been designed to be delivered via a range of different technologies such as DVD, Kiosk and more importantly via a mobile / PDA / small screen device.  It is a template application which enables new editions to be easily created for additional sites or areas. The template components are libraries of 3D objects of different historical periods, educational puzzles, history fact sheets and lifestyle images / video.

The KubeMatrix™ will hold all this information and material together. This is a unique concept, which acts as a navigational tool, representing time, and space in a 4-dimensional format. The KubeMatrix™ tracks your progress, indicating “areas” you have visited and route taken. Each cube of the KubeMatrix™ represents a room / object or other designated space, and the connecting tubes are the passageways or pathways between. The vertical layers are the different eras that are important to the history of the site. 

The Talking Walls® also contains a set of character identities that remain constant through time. These characters act as guides, dressed in the period of the relevant time slice and relating stories of the period.  A choice of animated walkthrough routes are available using the present, or previous owners as guides to show you round their home. These guides provide additional information about the rooms / space you are visiting and will make the virtual experience more personal and tailored to their  own interests.  The walkthroughs will enable the wheelchair user to enjoy and participate in exploring the garden/ house / space, in areas they may not be able to physically visit.

Why The Talking Walls®

The Talking Walls® is designed to be a learning experience for children doing history projects, and designed to entertain as well.  It is envisaged that children and adults will walk around a property discovering more about the history and social impact of the place by using this application on a PDA or similar device. Parents / adults are able to explore the areas they are interested in, knowing that their children are also involved at their own level. Often children visiting heritage sites with their parents are presented with adult information.  The Talking Walls® enables them to access this information in a format specifically designed for their age group.  Learning can continue at home by using the DVD (bought from the visitor centre / website) in conjunction with the web.

The Talking Walls® is a multi-medium resource for children, visitor centres, teachers/educators, disabled people, adults and heritage organizations. It is designed to enhance the interest and appeal, particularly of heritage sites, by including educative, cultural, artistic, social and historic dimensions, satisfying a multitude of requirements and covering curriculum areas such as History, Science, Maths, Technology, Art, Design and Geography.

Interested parties have been the British Museum, the National Trust, English Heritage, Beaulieu and local museums.

© Deborah Wilson MA 2008

Talking walls application