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Robot tours

Kasparov Tweets

Meet our Museum robots

A robot's view of the Old New Land gallery at the National Museum of Australia.
Two robots, each with a panoramic camera for a head and a large touchscreen display on its chest
Chesster (left) and Kasparov

Kasparov and Chesster are two of the National Museum’s newest employees. Their job is to give people from around the world access to laser-guided virtual tours of our Museum.

Robot tours allow you to control your view of our galleries via the panoramic camera on each robot, and to talk with a tour guide.

As a virtual visitor you can:

  • Control your own view of our galleries – zooming and panning to look where you like, at what you find interesting.
  • Discover digital content about objects on display. We have hidden images and videos throughout our galleries, exclusively available for our virtual guests.
  • Respond to and ask questions of our tour guide. The software we use allows you to not only experience the Museum, but also to answer questions, or put your hand up and ask our guide a question. All of this through your web-browser!

Robots in action

See Kasparov and Chesster in action, as secondary students from Gungahlin College take a tour of the Museum.


Primary students from Kiama Public School in New South Wales take a tour in the Museum robots video on the Museum's YouTube channel.

Who can take a robot tour?

We have delivered robot tours for schools, community groups, libraries, staff meetings and more. If a group, class, or organisation you are involved in would like a tour, we would be happy to do one for you. All you need is a broadband internet connection, a webcam, and a microphone.

What types of robot tours are there?

The National Museum is rich with stories and artefacts from the span of Australian history. With the wealth of material available and the flexibility of our robot, we can cover topics including:

Landmarks: People and Places across Australia

  • Early explorers of Australia
  • Animals in Australian history (early learning)
  • Gold rush – Australia in the 1850s

First Australians: Gallery of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

  • Indigenous technologies
  • Indigenous cultures
  • Indigenous astronomy
  • Hunting and gathering

Old New Land: Australia's People and Environment

  •  Water in Australia (created in partnership with the Murray-Darling Basin Authority)

Journeys: Australia's connections with the world

  •  James Cook and the age of exploration
  •  Post-World War Two migration.

Can you tailor tours?

Probably! The Museum contains artefacts and stories with many curriculum links. If you're studying a particular topic, let us know what you need and we will try to put together a tour that meets your interests and needs.

Want to know more?

Follow @kasparbot on Twitter

Read our Engage & Learn blog – posts tagged 'mobile telepresence'

Read the CSIRO blog post – 'A little bit of robot love'

Background

The Museum robots project is the result of an innovative partnership between the National Museum, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s Academic and Reseach Network (AARNet), and the Commonwealth Department of Communications.

The robot project won the innovation category of the ANZIA (Australian and New Zealand Internet Awards) in 2013. The Museum robots caught the judges' eye for using a range of technologies – both ‘off the shelf’ and specifically designed for the project – to enable school students in regional Australia to participate in live, immersive, interactive, guided tours of the exhibitions from a computer or smart-board in their school or local library.

Australian Government, Department of Communications. An Australian Government Funded Initiative.