Robotics, 5G and art: during the month of May, visitors to Turin’s art museums, Civic Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art of Turin (GAM) and City of Turin Museum of Ancient Art (Palazzo Madama), had the opportunity to be part of various experiences based on 5G network Technology. Interactive technologies and robots have been at the center of an innovative enjoyment of art collections, with great public appreciation.
Visitors to GAM and Palazzo Madama were able to enjoy a number of engaging interactive experiences made possible through a significant collaboration between public and private organizations, who have been working together for more than three years to experience the potential of the new 5G technology under the EU-funded 5GTours project (https://5gtours.eu/).
The demonstrations set up in Turin have led to the creation of innovative applications in the tourism and culture sectors that can easily be replicated in any artistic or museum context.
In both places, visitors had the opportunity to meet R1, the humanoid robot designed by the IIT-Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (Italian Institute of Technology) of Genoa and created to operate in domestic and professional environments, including the Autonomous and remote navigation system is well integrated with the bandwidth and latency offered by a 5G connection. R1, the robot – 1 meter 25 cm tall, weighing 50 kg, made of 50% plastic and 50% carbon fiber and metal – is able to describe the works and answer questions about the artist or the period of history to which the work belongs. 5G connectivity is needed to transmit the huge amount of data generated by the robot’s sensors and the algorithms that manage environmental perception, autonomous navigation and dialogue to external processing systems with extremely fast response times.
At Palazzo Madama, the humanoid robot R1 led a guided tour of the ceramic room, while at GAM it was available to visitors to the 20th century collections, accompanying them to explore a selection of the most representative works of the museum. The R1 robot explained and answered questions about six relevant paintings: “Daphne a Pavarolo” by Felice Casorati, “Uccello 2” by Osvaldo Lucini, “In my country” by Marc Chagall, “Sacco” by Alberto Burri, “Orange car crash” by Andy Warhol and “Che Fare? by Mario Merz.
In addition, visitors – with the use of Meta Quest visors also connected to the 5G network – had to solve a puzzle, putting the paintings of the guard room back in their frames. Thanks to these devices, the works in the room, which in reality cannot be touched, can be manipulated and moved virtually. Finally, the visitors involved had the opportunity to visit the underground spaces of Palazzo Madama with the Double 3 mini-robot, which uses the 5G network to move responsively and precisely in narrow spaces.
At GAM, a class of students from a local school were able to remotely connect and maneuver the Double 3 mini-robot located in the 20th Century Collections Rooms at GAM directly from their classroom. A treasure hunt organized in the museum, the participants never leaving the school.
In the educational space, a group of young people had the opportunity to collaborate in the painting of a virtual artwork on a large technological wall, inspired by the works of Nicola De Maria.
The 5G network solutions created at MAG and at the Palazzo Madama by TIM with Ericsson technology in collaboration with the City of Turin and the Turin Museum Foundation, guarantee constant high-speed transmission and extremely low latency. These solutions, compliant with the 3GPP standard, are extremely flexible in terms of implementation and use. In the case of Palazzo Madama, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, tailor-made installations have been designed, using devices and solutions that integrate perfectly with the museum spaces, while guaranteeing extremely high performance. At GAM, the radio point system was implemented, a new 5G solution from Ericsson that is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and provides the network coverage and performance required for busy indoor areas. Thanks to these activities, Turin is increasingly playing the role of an open-air laboratory for urban innovation; since 2021, it has housed the “House of Emerging Technology – CTE NEXT”, a real center for technology transfer via 5G and for emerging technologies coordinated by the Municipality of Turin and financed by the Ministry of Economic Development.
Thanks to these solutions, Palazzo Madama and the GAM are now unique examples of technology in Italy and a rare example at European level of museum buildings with full 5G coverage.
The experience is the result of the project funded by the European Union, 5G-TOURS “5G smart mObility, media and e-health for toURists and citizenS”, the City of Turin – Department and Direction of Innovation, in collaboration with the Department of Culture – Ericsson, TIM, the Turin Museum Foundation and the IIT-Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (Italian Institute of Technology) in Genoa, with the contribution of international partners Atos and Samsung. The 5G coverage within the two museums was implemented by TIM using Ericsson technology, solutions that are perfectly integrated into the spaces of the structures of the two museums.