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The MEMEX European project has set to work to develop artificial intelligence and augmented reality technologies able to help the social inclusion of people who risk being marginalized, by promoting their stories. The project, which is embodied by a new app, is to be tested in Paris’ most vulnerable residents of the 19th district, in Barcelona by migrant women, and in Lisbon by the 2nd generation immigrants in Portugal. Coordinated by Alessio Del Bue from IIT-Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Genoa (Italy), the project has been funded by the European Union under the programme “Horizon 2020” with almost four million euros for three years and involves research institutes, NGOs and companies in Italy, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, France and Belgium. 

The new MEMEX technologies will make it possible to tell the stories of the most endangered communities, thanks to the possibility of building narrative paths with pictures, videos and maps, on and around the cultural heritage of the different territories. By telling their stories, the communities not only will be able to have visibility with their stories shared to the public, but also to connect with the territory they live in, discovering historical and artistic insights. 

The project involves the development of artificial intelligence and augmented reality technologies along different stages: the creation of a software to geo-locate people and objects, the integration of tools to manage the stories structure, and the connection with the information on the territory’s artistic-cultural heritage. An analysis of the communities’ social needs will complement the technological development from the beginning to the end of the project. 

The MEMEX app will be tested by heterogeneous social groups with possible different communication needs: 

  • migrant women living in Barcelona, with whom we will create activities for the valorisation of the city’s cultural heritage;
  • the communities originated by the immigration to Lisbon of the inhabitants of the old Portuguese coloniesThey We will work with them to collect memories, traditions and their contributions to  Portuguese culture;
  • inhabitants and local actors of the Rosa Parks area in Paris, a neighbourhood with strong social issues. The community will be mobilized to create digital storytelling about personal experiences, urban transformation and common heritage.

As cultural heritage and technology experts, Noho will co-design and create interactive content and smartphone storytelling tools for the MEMEX project. We will contribute to the project’s development of conceptual and technological tools that bridge traditional curation with needs for creating different narratives through a variety of modalities (textual, audio, visual, etc.). This will interlink with Noho’s expertise and involvement in other EU-funded projects, such as V-Must, CEMEC, EMOTIVE and Share 3D. 

Our knowledge and expertise in creating interactive content for the cultural heritage sector with a strong emphasis on narrative design makes Noho a perfect match for a project like MEMEX. We are delighted to work with such a diverse group of partners from Europe in order to improve social inclusion using digital storytelling tools”, says Niall Ó hOisín, director of Noho, a creative industry/SME partner in the MEMEX project. 

The creation of MEMEX app has the power to positively impact on the European multicultural society, being an instrument to be used in schools and educational institutes as a digital support to learning; by government bodies to define social inclusion policies by following the guidelines emerged from the project; and by artists and digital communities to further develop the app as a way of expression. 

The consortium is composed of: IIT-Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (Italy), Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia (Italy), EY (Italy), ECCOM (Italy), Mapillary (Sweden), Interactive Technologies Institute – Larsys (Portugal), Michael Culture Association (Belgium), Dédale (France), Interarts (Spain), Noho (Ireland), Mapa das Ideias (Portugal). 

MEMEX project is funded by the European Union and coordinated by IIT-Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia

For more information visit https://www.memexproject.eu/

Watch Introduction to MEMEX Project by Alessio Del Bue, coordinator (IIT):

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870743.