M-PIRO (Multilingual Personalised Information Objects)
The M-PIRO project attempts to combine innovative research in the production of natural language and voice composition with the technologies of multimedia databases, information management and virtual reality, which are developed to facilitate access to museum exhibits and information. Specifically, M-PIRO introduces the notion of personalized information objects. These objects correspond to the visitor's demands for information, taking under consideration what the visitor already knows and what other relevant information is available.
The consortium of the project collaborates closely with museums, collections and other cultural institutions in order to develop a technology that will satisfy their special needs. The M-PIRO technology allows the automatic production of written and oral descriptions of exhibits from subjective, non linguistic, databases and prexistent texts. The descriptions can be produced in English, Greek and Italian and are adapted according to visitor's interests, background and linguistic abilitites. For example, vocabulary can differ depending on whether the descriptions are going to be read by children or by people that possess specialized knowledge about the exhibits.
The M-PIRO technology will be incorporated into museum information systems and will be used in museum kiosks, on the world wide web and in advanced 3D virtual reality environments. Furthermore, among the final objectives of the programme is its application to at least one virtual exhibition. Already an initial Internet application has been materialized, which describes 15 objects of Hellenic antiquity, and has been presented in the International Conference of Computer Applications in Archaeology (Visby, Sweden, 2001), receiving extremely favourable comments.
FHW's role at the M-PIRO project
The role of the Foundation of the Hellenic World is twofold: on the one hand FHW provides the historical and archaeological information and sets the specifications for the quality of the texts that are created by the system, so that they will correspond to the high demands of a cultural institution and on the other hand it collaborates with the rest of the participating organizations in technology issues for the application of the system in virtual reality environments. It is characteristic that for the first time in programmes of this type, FHW, besides being a participating institution, will also evaluate the project, since the experimental applications of the project will be materialized at the Cultural Centre Hellenic Cosmos, at the "Magic Screen" virtual reality system, and at its web site on the Internet.
M-PIRO Joint Venture and Financing
The M-PIRO project is co-financed by the "Information Society Technologies" Programme of the EU 5th Framework of the European Union and the participating organizations of the project. It has a duration of three years and expires in 2003.
For additional information regarding the objectives and the progress of the project, you can visit the temporary web site of the project at http://www.ltg.ed.ac.uk/mpiro/.