Fully immersive audioguides such as the Optima6 allow designers to plunge visitors into a world within the museum, where attention doesn’t need to be paid to operating the audioguide, or finding the plaque with the commentary number. By using location-based triggering audioguides can automatically start playing the desired content at the right spot in the exhibition, and with RSF’s infra-red triggering system this can be precisely defined down to 50cm of movement or 30o of turning. No other system in the world is this accurate, and allows incredibly small triggering zones with no restrictions on the proximity of adjacent zones. In the past some installations have actually ripped out existing systems in order to install the RSF synchronisation system as the previous system had not met requirements.
Headphones can often be a dividing issue in museums. On one hand they allow fully individualised content, eliminate noise pollution, and can provide very good sound quality. On the other hand they also isolate the visitor, pose hygiene problems, and suffer from broken cables. There is no right or wrong answer as to whether to use them or not, however RSF have provided a solution to the inconveniences posed through our unique Freesound headphones. There is no physical contact between the headphones and the ear, the visitor can always hear surrounding sounds, there is no noise spill, and while the Kevlar-reinforced cables rarely fray and break, those that do can be easily replaced thanks to the use of 3.5mm jack plugs.
Audioguides are great tools to provide visitors with in-depth information about the subject-matter of a museum in an interesting and engaging manner. Unfortunately however sometimes visitors who are not so tech-savvy can struggle to control the audioguide as necessary. This phenomenon is particularly prevalent in visitors at either end of the age spectrum. By using our Point & Click technology the operation for the user couldn’t be easier. They simply point the audioguide at the desired exhibit, and click the single button on the face of the audioguide. There are no numerical codes to tap in, no timeout function, no menus to navigate. The audio starts immediately in the headphones and they can allow themselves to be immersed in the visit.
When developing the Basic audioguide we were not satisfied with the available audio codecs – they either required too much processing power to decode, didn’t compress enough for memory chips, or delivered awful audio quality.
Sometimes all three at the same time!
To this end we developed our own SR3 codec. It allows excellent audio quality at low bitrates, and has been adapted to the processors used in our audioguides. This means that as few calculations as possible are performed by the processor during the decoding, thus increasing battery life. The technology also allows the processor to economise power through micro-standby’s whenever there is silence between words or syllables.
RSF was the first company in the world to create an audioguide that could synchronise locally-stored content to an external video player. We have developed this into the exceptionally accurate and reliable system that is used today in hundreds of sites worldwide. Once set up our audioguides always synchronise with lip-perfect accuracy in multiple languages regardless of whether the visitor is in the zone when the video starts or not.
All of our audioguides have autonomy levels that are unmatched in their class. In some cases this can mean up to 6 months without needed to change batteries. We have also worked hard to make other products as efficient as possible: We have a fixed listening post that can run for 2-4 YEARS before needing new batteries, and triggering points for audioguides that will run for 5-10 years on one set of batteries.