Let's face it, the audio tours in museums could use a technology upgrade. While listening to the facts and stories behind each exhibit read by a D-list celebrity is still a mainstay of any noteworthy museum or art gallery, the average cell phone today has more features than most of the audio devices visitors are given to carry around. It makes sense then that the Louvre in France, the world's most visited museum, is replacing its usual audio guides with a decidedly 21st-century gadget: the Nintendo 3DS.

As the home of some of the world's most famous works of art, including the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo, the Louvre brings in a high number of visitors each year - around 8.5 million in fact. Unfortunately for the museum, which does rely on revenue and funding like any other museum, only 4% of these visitors choose to rent the available audio guides, despite a switch to a different handheld multimedia platform a few years back. The museum staff hopes the 3DS console will be more accessible to attendees, particularly with its touch screen interface and smooth design.

Nintendo is providing 5,000 consoles and developing custom content for them, with the Louvre acting as editor. Besides hearing commentary on almost everything on display in seven different languages, the devices will allow visitors to pick pre-planned itineraries to suit their interests, including ones designed for children. The 3DS will also show the user where they are located in the building and where to find the exhibits they want to see. No word yet on whether the guide will use the no-glasses-needed 3D visuals that the handheld is famous for, but with Nintendo at the helm it's likely to be featured somehow. According to AFP, the Louvre plans to roll out the 3DS tour guides in March, along with new smartphone and tablet apps for attendees around the same time.

Source: AFP via PhysOrg

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