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 to be immersed in these events.
The Timelooper app allows users to experience key moments in London history. All that's 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 to experience the tower over 750 years ago, in 1255.
Instead of seeing a busy London tourist site, Feinberg sees a medieval marketplace, a formidable fortress, even 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 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 and 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 that 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, 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 in giving 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

  • quintinj-orv
    3/22/2016 - 03:14 p.m.

    The past has evidence which then is turned into facts, and are things that are true. It's happened before. The future can never truly be seen.

  • genevieveb-6-bar
    3/22/2016 - 09:09 p.m.

    The Timelooper app does not allow one to see the future becuase no one knows what the future will look like. At the end of the paragraph, it states,"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" (paragraph 14). Events such as this famous shot of a couple kissing when the man returned from war are factual and set in stone, whereas nobody knows what the future will entail. The Timelooper app does not allow the public to see the future because nobody knows what the future will look like.

    I found this article intriguing because I am very interested in history, and now, becuase of modern technology, I could be able to experience the past as if I were really there, is a fact that I find truly amazing.

  • sebastianr-6-bar
    3/22/2016 - 09:58 p.m.

    The Timelooper app doesn't allow to see into the future because the future hasn't happened yet but they are able to make everything look like it was the 13th century because the past has already happened and they are able to program it to look like what it looked like back in the old days based on facts instead predictions. I think this is a cool app that allows you to learn about history in a fun and cool way.

  • talanf-1-nic
    3/23/2016 - 07:56 a.m.

    The timelooper app allows you to look back in to the past because people know what it looks like. The app doesn't let you go into the future because no one knows what it's going to look like and no matter what when people try to guess what the future is like it's hard to know. it isn't impossible to make an app that going in to the "future" but that app will not be accurate to what it's going to be like.

  • pedror-ver
    3/23/2016 - 11:49 a.m.

    The time looper maybe cant see into the future and cant perdicted on what's gonna happen later on...

  • jaylynnj-Orv
    3/23/2016 - 04:32 p.m.

    This is really cool, that people can't physically go into the past but people can see the past. I think this would be useful to use in a history class or in any school environment.

  • lukem-orv
    3/23/2016 - 10:20 p.m.

    Because WE can change the future. WE build, and make up the future. The future takes time to make up it and you can't just fast forward.

  • dashiellg-3-bar
    3/24/2016 - 04:14 p.m.

    The Timelooper app does not allow you to see the future because it is a virtual image of past experiences the app gets from google. That at least is my theory on how the app works. It does not really explain how the app can see past images. However this is a great technological advancement and could lead to future time travel. I thought this article was interesting because it is amazing on all the new inventions that have come out in the past decade.

  • ericw-6-bar
    3/24/2016 - 07:02 p.m.

    The timelooper app does not allow you to see into the future because we do not know the events that will happen.We could make guesses but in the future when we play the game it will have to be constantly upgraded to be accurate.

  • Steve0620-yyca
    3/24/2016 - 09:09 p.m.

    I think that Timelooper is a cool app. If you have a smartphone and a cardboard headset, you will be able to use this. This app lets you travel through time to the history of London. You can see how the famous buildings of London or how the people lived through the headset. For example, it can go to the time when the Great Fire of London occurred. It lasted for many days and caused a lot of destruction. I think that many people will be interested by this and experience and witness a lot of things that they couldn't have done without this app.

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