(Detroit)—The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is premiering a mobile tour on Jan. 25 called Lumin that uses Google’s Tango technology to provide visitors with new, in-depth ways to engage with the DIA’s renowned collection. The DIA is the first art museum in the world to integrate this 3-D mapping and smartphone augmented reality (AR) technology into a public mobile tour.

Lumin content was created by the DIA’s interpretive team leveraging GuidiGO’s new augmented reality platform, AR Composer, built specifically for Tango. This allows the user to interact with real size 3-D animations, information and display directions in the visitor’s field of view.

“Lumin connects visitors with artworks in a global context beyond the DIA,” said Salvador Salort-Pons, DIA director. “Augmented reality allows the user to see the unseen, imagine art in its original setting and understand how objects were used and experienced in people’s everyday lives. It is an exciting way to incorporate the latest technology into the visitor experience.”

Visitors will hold a Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, a 6.4” Android smartphone, while looking at a work of art. AR overlays, videos, photographs, sounds or touch-activated animations appear on the screen to provide contextual information, such as how an object was initially used, its original location or details not normally seen by the public. Some stops will offer games where users will look for details, solve puzzles or take simple quizzes to unlock sounds and imagery relating to the artworks.

Some examples of tour stops

● In the Egyptian gallery visitors can hold the device up to a 2000-year-old mummy to reveal an x-ray view of the skeleton inside. 

● While looking at a beige limestone sculpture, the screen displays the original vibrant colors that adorned an Assyrian palace thousands of years ago.

● In front of a section of the wall from the Ishtar Gate, visitors can use the device to walk through a digital reconstruction of the gates of ancient Babylon.

The name of the project is derived from the Latin word for light (lumen). This refers to the moment of illumination—the spark and magic—that occurs when people have an enlightening experience with a work of art. Light is also used as a metaphor for finding one’s way and the mapping capabilities of the devices will help visitors find their way around the DIA, enabling them to quickly find their way to specific galleries, restrooms, restaurants and the museum shop. 

The initial phase of the project includes seven tour stops with a variety of AR experiences. The DIA is testing the Lumin prototype and will solicit user feedback to learn if the tours are working as planned and if adjustments need to be made. The museum plans to add additional stops based on input from visitors. 

The project is generously sponsored by the J. Addison and Marion M. Bartush Family Foundation.

Museum Hours and Admission

9 a.m.–4 p.m. Tuesdays–Thursdays, 9 a.m.–10 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. General admission (excludes ticketed exhibitions) is free for Wayne, Oakland and Macomb county residents and DIA members. For all others, $12.50 for adults, $8 for seniors ages 62+, $6 for ages 6–17. For membership information, call 313-833-7971.

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The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), one of the premier art museums in the United States, is home to more than 60,000 works that comprise a multicultural survey of human creativity from ancient times through the 21st century. From the first Van Gogh painting to enter a U.S. museum (Self-Portrait, 1887), to Diego Rivera's world-renowned Detroit Industry murals (1932–33), the DIA’s collection is known for its quality, range and depth. The DIA’s mission is to create opportunities for all visitors to find personal meaning in art.

Programs are made possible with support from residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.