The train is our friend
, Maria van Zeller Sousa
Published paper: Mr. Steam and “The train is our friend”: an interactive system to welcome school children to the Museum
“The train is our friend” consists of an innovative and interactive system to welcome school children to the National Railway Museum in Portugal. An interactive wireless avatar, Mr. Steam, a 3D virtual character, narrates a story and interacts with the school children following the themes of time, travel and space, using the history of trains from the age of steam locomotives to the present day. Visitors interact by means of a wireless video controller. The video was made in two languages (Portuguese and English) and subtitles can be used for accessibility. The avatar has a camcorder that alows another interaction with printed cards bearing symbols, called "magic cards." Children can see different trains in 3D models as if they were in their hands. They can join carriages with the locomotives and make them move, they can understand the different speeds of the trains like a TGV (Hight Velocity Train) or a diesel locomotive, or see the inside of a carriage. This project was made possible through the co-finance program, START-Seamless Travel across the Atlantic area Regions using sustainable Transport.