UBC Reports | Vol.
51 | No. 1 | Jan.
Get your MUSE Whenever, Wherever
By Brian Lin
If you think your cell phones and PDAs have already transformed
your life, get ready for a whole new array of daily applications.
Soon these digital devices will be able to serve as your personal
tour guide and real estate agent, among other things.
Providing the right information at the right place and the
right time through mobile devices is at the heart of the groundbreaking
Mobile Media-rich Urban Shared Experience (MUSE) project.
Launched in July with a $1.29 million grant from Heritage
Canada and industry partners, and led by UBC education professor
David Vogt, the project aims to find the best ways to make
such devices as responsive to their environment as people
So when you’re mesmerized by Mona Lisa’s smile,
your museum audio tour -- playing straight from your cell
phone -- won’t rush you on to the next painting. And
before you put a down payment on that dream house, your PDA
could advise you of the nearest schools and grocery stores.
“With the advent of mobile devices and the availability
of broadband technology, we’re no longer tied to our
computers and phones,” says Vogt. “But as we roam
around the city, we need access to information that will enrich
our understanding of where we are, or simply make our lives
“We want to find the best ways to make your mobile
device and your surroundings work for you, together, to deliver
the kind of information you need.”
Made up of 45 industry leaders and researchers from a variety
of disciplines, MUSE aims to leverage Vancouver’s cultural,
industrial and technological advantages -- not to mention
the 2010 Olympics -- to make the city a mecca for context-aware
“Vancouver is the perfect place to develop this leading-edge
field. We already have well-established film, television,
gaming and high tech industries,” says Vogt. “And
UBC, with one of the highest density of wireless hot spots
in the world, is the logical place to test the technology.”
One of the MUSE sub-project teams is already working on
improving audio tours at UBC’s Museum of Anthropology,
while another is designing a high-tech heritage scavenger
hunt in Chinatown, to be unveiled during next year’s
dragon boat festival at Science World.
Aptly named AMUSEMENT, the scavenger hunt game can be played
on mobile devices currently available on the market and uses
the industry standard 802.11 wireless network. Clues relating
to Chinatown culture are sent to players’ cell phones
and points are given when they reach the correct location.
Overcoming Youth Voter Apathy
A special $297,000 project has been approved through MUSE
aimed at increasing youth voter participation in the upcoming
May provincial election. The project will involve students
and engage them through interactive experiences such as voting
on important social questions through their own mobile devices,
and seeing first-hand the impact of their votes.
Supported by funding from Western Economic Diversification
Canada, the project has already teamed up with student groups
at UBC, SFU, UVic, UNBC and BCIT to create “mobile communities.”
Content specifically designed for mobile devices will be distributed
amongst participants to engage youth through their own peers.
MUSE welcomes proposals of context-aware content delivery.
For more information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.