Multilingual Switzerland

A Binaural Audio Experience Characterises the "Multilingual Switzerland" Exhibition at the National Museum in Zurich



The "Multilingual Switzerland" exhibition at the National Museum in Zurich invites you to a sensory journey through the linguistic regions of Switzerland. Here you get to hear the variants of our national languages and the countless dialects and learn what this diversity means for people's everyday lives. And you hear how our languages were born and how they developed. All this is conveyed by an intelligent audio guide that always knows where you are and in which direction you are looking.


The exhibition extends over the first floor of the Landesmuseum and consists of five scenes. When visitors arrive, a familiar image emerges, as the huge display board of Zurich main station scrolls in front of them. Correspondingly, you hear the soundscape of Switzerland's largest railway station right next to the museum. Then you discover the geographical distribution of dialects, can enter into an acoustic dialogue with a virtual person and experience the broadcasts of Swiss television SRF parallely in all national languages. Finally, you can learn about the linguistic imprints of various people and the changes they have undergone during their biographies as you move through the (sound) backdrop of a train.


  • Binaural audio in headphones
  • High-precision location tracking
  • Mixed reality platform: digital twin is the basis for the interactions in real space
  • Virtual 3D model of the exhibition rooms with sounds and trigger zones
  • Three-dimensional sound images


An intelligent audio system guides visitors through the exhibition. It always knows where you are and delivers all the necessary information to the headphones. In this way, complex content can be conveyed in a very small space and everyone can move freely through the exhibition. One experiences the space as an open soundscape and experiences linguistic differences through the boundaries of different sound zones.


The individual listening experience is made possible by high-precision location tracking that records the movement of visitors in real time. It is based on ultra-wideband technology (UWB) and takes place via special headphones. Each of these headphones receives signals from UWB transmitters distributed throughout the exhibition space and can determine its own position with an accuracy of ten centimetres. An IMU sensor also determines the head orientation. This way, the system also knows in which direction you are looking.

It's a pretty immersive experience because the system responds very accurately to the position in the room. You even hear the stereo sound sometimes more from the left or more from the right, depending on which way you turn your head.
Swiss Radio Television SRF, Dini Mundart Schnabelweid


The basis is an interactive 3D model in which an exact copy of the exhibition rooms is stored. Comparable to a computer game consisting of virtual rooms and objects, this digital twin of the exhibition also contains various objects, sounds, interactions and trigger zones. This is the core of the Mixed Reality Platform (MxRP) developed by iart especially for museum applications.

  • Opening


  • Location


  • Client

    Schweizerisches Nationalmuseum

  • Partners

    Idee und Klang Audio DesignBOOST+

  • Services

    System DevelopmentSoftware DevelopmentSystem IntegrationProcess ManagementElectronics DevelopmentInteraction DevelopmentInteraction DesignMedia Technical Planning

  • Photos & Video Footage

    Photos © Schweizerisches Nationalmuseum

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