The ARCHES project, managed by the Research Executive Agency (REA), is among the 10 finalists for this year's Horizon Impact Award - a prize dedicated to EU-funded projects whose results have created societal impact across Europe and beyond.
The project developed innovative technological solutions to increase access to cultural artefacts by people with disabilities. These included sign language video avatars, tactile artwork reliefs, barrier-free apps for museum visits and games for smartphones and tablets.
As underlined in the announcement of the short-listed finalists, "ARCHES enables inclusiveness for people with special needs to fully experience arts and culture and redefines the role of museums in contemporary society. Thanks to the application of novel technologies created by the EU funded project ARCHES, a new audience can be brought to museums where explanations of artwork are available in sign language and captioned text. Their initiative has already benefited a wide range of museum visitors and other end-users in countries such as the UK, Austria, Italy, the United States and Russia."
The project has also filed a patent application for its state-of-the-art relief printer. In addition, its sign language video avatar attracted the attention of the National Weather Forecast Services of Austria.
Currently, apps and games from the project are available for download from Google Play and the Apple Store, for use in the participating museums and at home. The multimedia guide will be on display at the six participating museums (Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Spain, Victoria & Albert Museum in the United Kingdom, KHM-Museumsverband in Austria, Museo Lázaro Galdiano in Spain, The Wallace Collection in the United Kingdom and Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias in Spain) and is being marketed to European museums alongside the tactile reliefs – over the coming months it will be shown at four different exhibitions in Austria alone.
The Horizon Impact Award acknowledges and rewards the most influential and impactful project results under Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme. The prize highlights concrete achievements that have demonstrable value for society, and will celebrate the people who made it happen.
The winners will be announced at the award ceremony in Brussels on the 23 September at the European Research and Innovation Days.
18 Settembre 2020