Memex app, shows the story of those who risk social exclusion

by time news

A mobile application that allows you to tell your stories using Augmented Reality and information on the surrounding cultural heritage. It is the app that the researchers of the IIT of Genoa are developing as part of the European Memex project and which will be shown in some of its functions from today at the Maker Faire in Rome, in the Cini stand, until 10 October. Memex-Memories and Experiences for inclusive digital storytelling is a European project of 3 years which began at the end of 2019, is coordinated by the Italian Institute of Technology and funded under the Horizon 2020 program.

Memex project partners have successfully completed a first version of the mobile phone application, designed to undertake inclusion activities with communities at risk in some European cities: Paris, Lisbon and Barcelona. The application allows socially fragile people to narrate their life experience through the use of digital tools. “What we will show at the Maker Faire are some of the properties that the Memex app will have at the end of the project” explains Alessio Del Bue, coordinator of the European project and head of the Pavis laboratory at the IIT in Genoa. “At the moment – he stresses again – this allows you to create a simple 3D model of objects in the scene, to associate the contents entered by the user to each object and to view those contents in Augmented Reality mode”

These features will be integrated in the coming months into the Memex project app. In the first phase of the project, the Memex partners, in particular Iit, the Ca ‘Foscari University of Venice, EY & Interactive Technologies Institute-Larsys, have developed an application that allows users to share compelling and meaningful stories, with the aim of making visible the memories of people at risk of social exclusion. The app is built so that users

can write and share interests, memories, thoughts, feelings, in the form they prefer
: it can be narrative or go as far as poetry and can be further enriched loading
multimedia content such as photos, voice audio or even video. Once the story is loaded, the app allows you to geolocate it and identify a site or cultural heritage asset in the area, in order to add more content to the narrated experience.

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The result is a set of contributions that can be accessed via a list that filters stories by category and title or via a map that shows the specific location of each story, allowing you to explore and search for specific points of interest. Both viewing modes present the stories and their content in a simple and accessible way while maintaining a spatial awareness of the places and cultural heritage highlighted by users. The Memex app is under further development based on a field study conducted in the reference cities: Lisbon, Paris and Barcelona.

In Lisbon, the project partners Interactive Technologies Institute-Larsys, in collaboration with Mapa das Ideias and Instituto Marquês de Valle Flôr, invited young migrants to use the app to tell their stories. Thanks to this first experience it was possible to define a list of requirements and technical specifications of the app that they were tested with migrant women in Barcelona and with the inhabitants of the 19th district in Paris.

Alessio Del Bue explains that “the main objective of these tests was to analyze the expectations of communities in different cities of the European territory, in collaboration with local associations. From October 2020 to May 2021, we engaged the communities of reference through personalized workshops in each of the pilot locations, so that participants could reflect on the stories they wanted to share and on the format that these stories should have taken. “

To date they are 34
the participants, aged between 30 and 80, involved in the project; they created 31 stories
in the first version of the app. All participants produced a story while testing the current functionalities of the app, supported and guided throughout the entire process thanks to special methodologies created ad hoc for the project by Eccom-European Center for Organization and Cultural Management. In addition, some facilitators that the participants were already familiar with helped them to feel more comfortable along the way, given the lack of familiarity with the technology of some of them.

A second version of the Memex app will incorporate improvements suggested by the valuable information gathered during testing. Furthermore, new features will display stories with Augmented Reality, with an integration of the Knowledge Graph which will engage users in creating more vibrant stories.

The Memex project is coordinated by the Italian Institute of Technology (Italy) ed the project consortium is composed of: Ca ‘Foscari University Venice (Italy), EY (Italy), Eccom (Italy), Cnrs – Center National de Recherche Scientifique (France), Interactive Technologies Institute – Larsys (Portugal), Michael Culture Association (Belgium), Daedalus (France) , Interarts (Spain), Noho (Ireland), Map of Ideas (Portugal).

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