Norio, the tour robot

This robot was awarded the Heritage & Innovation 2015 prize. It allows mobility impaired visitors to explore the first floor of the château.

 

The project was first initiated four years ago by staff from the château of Oiron, and the technology was installed in November 2013 by two French robotics experts from start-up firm “Droïds Company”. The aim is to allow mobility impaired visitors to explore areas of the building and works of art that had not previously been accessible.

The château of Oiron’s robot is designed to move around the rooms on the first floor of the building. It gives mobility impaired visitors a chance to decide how to explore the spaces, remotely. It is a simple, real and fully autonomous solution.

From the “control post” on the ground floor of the château, visitors can use a computer mouse or joystick to guide the mobile robot and explore the spaces, featuring works of art from the Renaissance period, the 17th century and the modern day. For example, visitors can explore the Salle d’Armes, the Cabinet des Muses, the Salon des Émigrés or the large painted gallery. Each controlling visitor has access to a live HD audio and video feed from the robot, and can even communicate with people walking through the same spaces via the robot (friends, other tourists or a Château of Oiron guide).

The tour robot, a completely original solution developed specifically for the château of Oiron, is a true example of technological innovation. It is both easy to use for novices, and designed to meet the inherent restrictions that come with moving a machine around a historical monument that is open to the public.

Moreover, it offers a brand new experience for visitors to the château of Oiron who would previously have been unable to explore these spaces. This brand new experiment may also be transposable to other historic monuments, museums or other cultural premises in the future, where full, direct access for some or all members of the public is not currently possible.