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Experience Recorder
This study represents a full-scale experiment with mobile and ubiquitous computing technologies building on previous pilots undertaken by the authors that built confidence in the feasibility of this approach. Specifically, we used the Experience Recorder (ER), a pervasive computing platform developed at Birkbeck College to capture, replay and analyse visitor experiences. The ER is a hardware and software prototype that allows the continuous capture, archival and reconstruction of personal experiences. In this case, we used specially modified smartphones to record fine resolution location information of families during their visit to the London Zoo and in some cases additional parameters such as spatial density. From these we are able to infer their spatial behaviour and their interaction with physical objects in general and specific exhibits in particular. We used ER to capture patterns of visitor spatial navigation which we used to explore how they relate to the family agenda and specifically to their understanding of the subject matter, their motivations and expectations, using the London Zoo as a case study. To do so, we asked visitors at the beginning of the visit to construct their Personal Meaning Map (PMM) related to the exhibition. Then, we recorded their visit with the ER and repeated the PMM at the end of the visit. The pre- and post-PMMs were compared and cross-related with patterns of spatial navigation. To extract these patterns from the raw location data we used machine-learning techniques to discover specific characteristic behaviours. For example, the observed visit trails correspond to a so-called Levy flight, which is frequently encountered in biological systems and is often related to efficient strategies for foraging. Moreover, the parameter of the related power law distribution of displacements recorded for a particular family appears to be related to their agenda for the visit.
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