On a Detour

Our takeaway: Location-aware playback, group sync, and other high tech bells and whistles… they’re great, but they don’t mean a thing without great content.


Immersive audio walks are on the rise. With ever improving technologies for localization and group syncing, it is possible to make even more powerful location based walks which no longer require continuous interaction with a device, allowing the listener to get immersed more deeply in the experience. 

Last week in Barcelona I walked my first Detour, which was an impressive experience. This tour was a beautifully produced story about the Spanish Revolution, a workers’ social revolution, that began during the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in the summer of 1936. The audio walk took us through the harbor and the Gothic quarters guided by a narrator. Along the way we ‘met’ and were accompanied by several local characters that were there at the time.

The Detour app works location aware. In this linear story the narrator also gives directions and audio or soundscapes are precisely timed while walking between places of interest, making it a continuous, immersive experience, a journey with one beginning and one end fifty minutes later, which really felt like walking through a movie. Once my companion and I had located the starting point in the city, we just pressed start and could put our device away. Well, almost, as we needed a small ‘detour’ when a bridge on our route was under repair, but the app helped us find our way fast enough.

We had synced our audio, meaning we listened to everything at the same time. When one of us paused, the audio stopped -this was fun- and when something intense happened we could share a glance. The real social though happened afterwards after the walk had ended, sharing tapas and recapturing our experience and agreeing that it was the combination of great technology and a great production that had made our experience pretty amazing. And we love producing with Detour.

Check out some of our work with Detour at SFMOMA here: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/antenna-takes-storytelling-heights-sfmoma-110000435.html

About Us

We are innovative storymakers and creative technologists devoted to visitor-first experiences.

We make audio tours, mobile apps, multimedia guides, podcasts, interactives, and superior story-driven content for the museum and cultural sector.

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