An AI virtual assistant has enabled a museum to reopen for visitors by providing contactless check-in and temperature scans.
An artificial intelligence (AI)-based virtual assistant has enabled the Ontario Regiment Museum to reopen for visitors by providing contactless check-in and temperature scanning while ensuring that the museum adheres to visitor limits for safeguards against the COVID-19 risks.
Master Corporal Lana, a touchless virtual concierge or greeting host, interacts with visitors via a large screen and can recognize a verbal answer or a non-verbal nod. It can count visitors, provide crowd control, and check tickets (Figure 1).
Figure 1 Master Corporal Lana (on the left) can welcome visitors, check people in, and provide useful information such as directions and event-specific messages. Source: Intel
Master Corporal Lana, MCpl Lana, or just Lana for short, employs several Intel technologies, including an Intel RealSense D415 depth camera, and is based on the Animated Virtual Agent (AVA) platform developed by CloudConstable. The RealSense depth camera complements the custom sensor array for gesture control that includes a touchless long-wave infrared (LWIR) thermal scanner.
Together, the two sensors provide more accurate temperature readings and ensure that the reading from the thermal scanner isn’t affected by how far the person is from the sensor. Moreover, the depth sensor allows MCpl Lana to recognize a non-verbal nod and assist with authenticating registered users like the 100-plus volunteers who help maintain the fleet of historic military vehicles.
Figure 2 The RealSense D415 camera sensor has a tightly focused field of view to offer higher quality depth per degree. Source: Intel
An Intel NUC 9 Pro mini PC powers the system that operates as a smart kiosk; it facilitates natural language processing to allow Lana to hold a conversation and ask and answer questions from visitors and volunteers. Intel’s vPro technology enables secure remote management while the chipmaker’s OpenVINO toolkit helps implement AI inference acceleration.
The Ontario Regiment Museum houses North America’s most extensive collection of operational military vehicles dating back to the 1940s. The Lana virtual assistant has allowed the museum to reopen to the public by engaging visitors in COVID-19 safety screening while also offering custom greetings and visitor instructions. The executive director of the museum, Jeremy Blowers, says it’s fantastic to see the level of excitement about the Lana AI virtual assistant.
Majeed Ahmad, Editor-in-Chief of EDN, has covered the electronics design industry for more than two decades.