Wednesday, April 10, 2013

User's Guide to IRMA

We have developed a smart phone application - the IRM Tour Guide - which is now available for Android.   This IRM App, "IRMA" for short, can be downloaded for free by anyone, but is intended mostly to enhance the visitor experience. As you tour the Museum, your Android phone can display text with additional information about the artifacts, pictures, and links to videos of the equipment in operation.  IRMA will also give you important safety information and helpful hints on planning your visit.
Our intent is not to have information on every piece of equipment, but to tell stories about railroading in general using selected artifacts as examples.  Dining cars, private cars, labor relations, technological developments, and various aspects of preservation are a few of the types of subjects we want to cover.  More will be added as time permits.

If you have an Android phone you can try out IRMA at any time.  Go to the App Store and search for "IRM Tour Guide"; it's listed under the category Educational.  As you may know, once the app has been installed on your phone, it will be updated automatically whenever we upload a new version.  And once the Android version is finalized, we plan to port the app to iPhones.

Here are some current screen shots, and a brief user's guide if you're having trouble running the app.  IRMA starts with the "Browse" tab (L).  If you're touring the Museum, you will come across roundels like this one displaying a large number.

Press the "Search" tab at the top: this takes you (L) to the Search page.  If your phone doesn't have a hardware keyboard, you need to touch the input box to get the input keyboard (R) to pop up.  Type in the number (such as 65) and press the icon on the right.

You now get a page of information about the chosen topic, using the particular artifact you're standing next to as an example.  In this case, it's the founding of IRM itself.

If you press the "Photo" tab at the top, you get a nice picture (R) of the artifact, whenever possible of its use in service.


If you press the "Links" tab, you get one or more links to Internet files.  Some of them may be YouTube videos, such as this one. On your phone you would now be hearing the horn sounding as the car rushes past.

If you're just trying IRMA out at home, when the "Browse" page comes up, you can press any of the buttons to get a list of available articles.  For instance, if you press "Electric Cars" you get a drop-down list of all the various articles centered on electric cars.

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