New app lets you travel back in time
New app lets you travel back in time Timelooper co-founder Andrew Feinberg looks through a Google cardboard virtual reality headset across from the Tower of London in London, England. The Timelooper app allows users to experience key moments in London history with just a smartphone and a cardboard headset. (AP Photo)
New app lets you travel back in time
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Imagine watching frantic shopkeepers busily extinguish the Great Fire of London. Or sheltering citizens from Nazi bombing raids during the Blitz.
Now, thanks to a virtual reality app, you can travel back in time. And be immersed in these events.
The Timelooper app allows users to experience key moments in London history. All that is required is a smartphone and a cardboard headset.
For example, when Timelooper cofounder Andrew Feinberg visits the Tower of London, the historic castle on the banks of London's Thames River, he doesn't line up with hordes of tourists to catch a glimpse of the royal family's crown jewels. Instead, he uses Timelooper's time travel tourism app. It allows him to experience the tower over 750 years ago, in 1255.
Instead of seeing a busy London tourist site, Feinberg sees a medieval marketplace and a formidable fortress. Viewers can even see an elephant being led down a path.
"We actually overlay the current infrastructure with what the infrastructure of the tower and the surrounding environment was like in 13th century London," explained Feinberg. "So for example, now you see a Starbucks and now you see the tower as it looks today with the moat drained. When we take you back in time, you actually see the historically accurate representation of the tower in its heyday."
Not far away at St. Paul's Cathedral, Timelooper users travel back to the Great Fire of London. It happened 350 years ago, in 1666. The fire burned for four days. It destroyed more than 13,000 houses.
The smartphone's built-in motion detection allows time travelers wearing a cardboard headset to move their gaze around the virtual world. It's a chance to seemingly explore London centuries ago. The videos are location-based. That means visitors must visit the sites to unlock the historical experiences.
Feinberg and his cofounder, Yigit Yigiter, were frustrated with current tourism technology. They say it hasn't evolved much since the introduction of audio guides. In 2014, Yigiter's wife brought home a Google cardboard VR headset. He began to think about an immersive virtual reality tourism experience. By September 2015, he'd quit his job in private equity. He moved to the British capital to begin work on the first incarnation of the app. The first version was launched in July 2015. It featured three sites.
Timelooper uses VR to offer a unique historical perspective. The technology has been exploding in many directions throughout the tourism industry. Carnival Cruise Line uses it to market cruises. The Dollywood theme park in Tennessee uses it to show off a new rollercoaster. And the Seattle Space Needle uses it to help visitors appreciate the view from its sky-high observatory. The Dali Museum in Florida created a virtual reality experience, too.  It lets visitors walk through a landscape painting by Salvador Dali. And a company called YouVisit has created over 300 VR experiences for destinations from Vatican City to Mexico.
Timelooper is a member of the Travel Tech Lab. It is an incubator space for travel technology start-ups. It was partly created by London & Partners. That is the city's official promotional company.
"Nothing replaces the experience of being on site. But you don't always know what the stories are about those sights," Yigiter said.
London landmarks are also finding Timelooper's VR experience useful. They provide a new-age twist to a decades-old attraction. The Thames River's 120-year-old Tower Bridge is set to launch its own Timelooper experience in April. It will take visitors back to 1666, before the bridge was even built. Instead, headset wearers view the raging Great Fire of London from a boat's crow's nest as it sails down the river.
Timelooper plans to launch in New York City this April. It will allow tourists to witness the famous kiss that was photographed in Times Square in August 1945 on VJ Day, the day World War II officially ended with the surrender of Japan. Visitors also will see the iconic picture of workers eating lunch atop a skyscraper during construction of the Rockefeller Center in 1932.

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Why doesn't the Timelooper app allow you to see into the future?
Write your answers in the comments section below

  • oliviaw-4-bar
    3/22/2016 - 09:29 a.m.

    The virtual time travel application, Timelooper, cannot possibly allow users to see into the future. This is due to current time travel technology, and the disappointing fact that we do not yet posses the means necessary to see into the future. As the "videos are location-based," and due to that, "visitors must visit sites to unlock historical experiences," (p. 8) using the technology to observe the future would be virtually impossible. However, if we had the ability to glimpse into the future, our world as we know it would most likely collapse.

    This article, as well as the application, interested me through its information regarding England's history. The fact that the Timelooper application can use location services to provide users with a more in-depth understanding of historical events is fascinating and innovative!

  • williamb-4-bar
    3/22/2016 - 11:42 a.m.

    The Timelooper app doesn't let you see the future because we don't know what the future will look like.

  • colteng-1-nic
    3/22/2016 - 11:58 a.m.

    Well first off it says nothing about going to the future. It only says things about going to the past. Plus we don't even know what the future will look like and that why it cant stimulate the future.

  • christianr-4-bar
    3/22/2016 - 12:09 p.m.

    The reason is that the future has not been made yet. That means you can not see the future.You can see the past because it is already made and the past can not change because the of present day will be change.So if u change the past and the historic events that lead up to this day will change the future and it will be all different.
    My opinion is that this is a great and wonderful idea and it is pretty cool that u can see to the past but is it really 100% accurate because we did not get all images from the past.

  • andrea-mcg
    3/22/2016 - 12:26 p.m.

    I think the Timelooper app doesn't let you see the future because people don't know what will happen in the future.

  • ailaniw-mcg
    3/22/2016 - 12:41 p.m.

    The Timelooper doesn't allow you see in the future because the Creators don't know what is going to happen in the future yet and if they did know the future could still change a lot.And you can see into the past because everything in the past means it already happened so they know more about it

  • ashleyt-kut
    3/22/2016 - 02:18 p.m.

    I think the app would be a good idea because of all people who like to travel to the United States.

  • william1108-yyca
    3/22/2016 - 02:49 p.m.

    WOW! It would be cool to have something like that. But when I first saw the article I actually thought you were going back in time not see it. But it would also be cool if we could see the future and if there would be hover cars and also a lot of cool new stuff. Maybe one day I will get Timelooper.

  • calebw-kut
    3/22/2016 - 03:03 p.m.

    This is just the start of virtual reality. Soon we will be able to do test rocket and stuff with it. We could test out how a surgery would go and travel to completely different places. Think of the possibilities that are opening up!

  • ben0424-yyca-byo
    3/22/2016 - 03:10 p.m.

    Watching many historical events with the app will be an interesting experience. This might be historically inaccurate though, because people don't know how to time travel yet. People might like this product and it will cause many people to be attracted by its features.
    Critical Thinking Question Answer: The Timelooper app can't let you see in the future because no one really knows how to predict the future yet. No one can go in to the future to see who things turn out, so we can't do it.

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