The museum in Florence is celebrating 150 years inaugurating the project “Mnemosyne”, a highly innovative system to interact with the works of art on display

The Bargello National Museum in Florence: For several days in the Hall of Donatello – where there are countless masterpieces – was installed “Mnemosyne”, a highly innovative system that aims to offer the visitor an emotional experience, as well as a greater understanding of the works. This was created to avoid the overload of news and instead, to suggest informative content in respect to the exact works that, among many admired, have aroused the most interest.

Through a network of cameras positioned in the hall and managed by a vision software, the innovative system is able to: identify the visitor inside the hall and detect the path; measure times of permanence in front of works; identify which of the works on display have attracted more his interest; offer the opportunity to expand their knowledge. In fact, thanks to the “Mnemosyne”, on an interactive table at the exit of the hall the visitor will find, for the works that he was most affected by, in-depth information and links to other works in the museum or in the city of Florence.

The Bargello is the first museum in the world to experience “Mnemosyne”, a project that required the use of six researchers for four years and was funded by the Tuscany Region and conducted by the University of Florence with the Center for Communication and Integration Media, directed by Alberto Del Bimbo, and Thales Italy SpA, together with the Directorate of the National Museum of the Bargello, with the collaboration of the technical manager of the museum, Cristina Valenti and the manager of the computer networks of the Museums of Florence, Armando Niccolai.

“We believe that a cultural experience should take the form of an in-depth content and not in a trivialization or their reduction to a game – added Alberto Del Bimbo -. Our goal was therefore to realize a technological solution sufficiently complex that will be able to understand on which works a visitor wants something more than a little information summary. And all this by simply watching him during the visit, without forcing him to bring along special devices or make any action in front of works of interest. ”

The system is innovative because: it is the first installation in a museum context of a real vision system to provide visitors with personalized information on their individual interests; is completely non-intrusive: the visitor is not required to use mobile devices, such as guides or smartphones.

The system operates in way that is totally respectful of the visitor’s privacy. The cameras and the vision system, in fact, do not reveal information about the facial features of the individual, but only data on the appearance of his figure such as colour and texture of the clothes. The appearance of the visitor is encoded into a string of numbers that captures the most distinctive elements. The numerical descriptors are then compared with each other to make the re-identification of the visitor and then are deleted at the end of the path.


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