This project focuses on the issue of inaccessibility in Cultural Heritage, due to lack of restoration and safety. The project has been developed for a specific context, the Royal Residence of Racconigi Castle, in Italy, where around 60% of the areas are excluded from the tour route. Virgil allows visitors to explore remotely the inaccessible areas through Virgil, a telepresence robot operated by a museum guide who remains responsible for the cultural storytelling activity.

On the left: visitors exploring the castle with a museum guide who also control the robot remotely. On the right: the robot in the inaccessible area

The user interfece of the robot, developed as a web app that a museum guide can access via tablet, allows to both control the robot and to show multimedia contents regarding things in the castle. The movement of the robot can be both controlled freely, with more effort required to the user, or selecting goals in the map, corresponding to interest point previously selected together with the museum guide, to adapt the robot path to the storytelling about the heritage.

overview of the robot interface

The project was promoted by TIM, as part of the Jol CRAB Lab activities, and developed as a collaboration between the Depertment of Architecture and Design and the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineer, at Politecnico di Torino, with Terre dei Savoia association. As part of this multidisciplinary research group, I focused on the analysis of the context and the actors involved, I contributed to setting design requirements, developing concepts of the robotic service and related experience and running the tests at the Castle.

Here a video about the project from Jol CRAB Lab.

Publications about the project:

Robots and Cultural Heritage: New Museum Experiences

Robots, Aesthetics and the Heritage Context