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Manchester Museum shortlisted for Museums + Heritage Awards

11 Apr 2013

The pioneering Virtual Object Handling project, which allows visitors to 'handle' ancient artefacts without actually touching them, has reached the shortlist in the Innovations category.

Virtual Object Handling

The Museum is the first in the world to harness new haptic technology to allow virtual touching of objects that are too precious to receive regular handling.

Developed with funding from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and unveiled in the Museum’s Ancient World galleries in autumn 2012, the Probos haptic interface enables visitors to explore the surfaces, shapes and sounds of ancient objects using a control device held in the fingertips.

Haptic technology draws on force feedback to create resistance to touch, tricking the mind into the sensation of touch. Developed with the visually impaired in mind, Probos adds extra dimensions for the sighted too, because it uses the three main senses of vision, hearing and touch.

The Museum has initially digitised three of its artefacts to enable users of the system to explore all aspects of them. They can be sited in re-creations of their likely original locations and each object is covered with “hot spots” which tell the user all about the item’s construction and history.

With Virtual Object Handling, the Museum joins a stellar line-up of museums and heritage visitor attraction projects on the shortlist for this year's Museums + Heritage Awards. Record numbers of entries were received and the battle for a coveted place on the shortlist was incredibly tough.

The winners will be announced at a glittering ceremony on Wednesday, 15 May, to be hosted by Sue Perkins in the Historic State Rooms of 8 Northumberland Avenue:

Further information