Don't miss the latest stories
Italy Recruits AI Museum Cameras To Judge ‘Attractiveness’ Of Art
By Mikelle Leow, 26 Jul 2021
Image via ENEA
As they say, the walls have eyes. So to raise visitor numbers at its museums and galleries after a year of uncertainty, one that Bloomberg CityLab reports left a €190 million (US$224 million) dent in Italy’s pocket, the nation has installed special AI-powered cameras alongside artworks at cultural institutions like the Istituzione Bologna Musei to gauge the “attractiveness” of the pieces.
The ‘ShareArt’ system was developed by Italy’s R&D agency ENEA in 2016, but museums have only recently adopted it for live trials. The cameras are set up near art to capture data including how many observers are looking at the pieces, which parts they fixate on, how close they are to the work, and how long they hold their gaze for. These are translated into “attraction value,” and tell the museum how best to display its collection.
Due to COVID-19 guidelines, the scope that ENEA’s cameras can track is limited to the eyes. However, as mask-wearing regulations ease, the tech could observe other parts of the face and monitor cognitive responses.
Just by looking at the eyes, though, the AI has already presented some interesting findings of how museum visitors view and react to art. For one, researchers now know that very few artworks are able to hold people’s attention for longer than 15 seconds. In fact, the average amount of time visitors gaze at art is just four to five seconds.
With such insights, museum staff might have a better sense of which artworks to prioritize, or even control the lighting of some displays.
“Thanks to simple data elaboration, an observer’s gaze can be translated into a graphic,” researcher Stefano Ferriani told Bloomberg CityLab. “We can detect where most of people’s attention is concentrated.”
Image via ENEA
[via Engadget and TNW, images via ENEA]
More related news
Also check out these recent news