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Guided by virtual curator

Audio guides
Audio guides have become as small as mobile phones

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- From a Walkman hanging around the neck to a sleek PDA, the humble audio guide has come a long way in the last decade.

Designing your own museum guide is now possible with technology that lets you choose where you want to go and what you want to look at, at a pace that suits you.

It becomes "a private tour with the curator, but a virtual curator," said Mike Morse at the British Museum, London.

"It's basically a personal tour that leaves at anytime you like."

The first audio guide was produced in the 1950s and now incorporates CD-ROM and MP3 technology.

"Audio guides have gotten smaller over the years just the same way that mobile telephones have gotten smaller," Morse said.

"We have MP3 players that can hold more memory and that are smaller, more lightweight, easier to use."

The designer has to ensure that the numbers on the guides are easily read, and there are Braille versions too.



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