This App Lets You Time Travel

If you've ever wanted to travel back in time to witness events you’ve read about in history books, a new virtual reality app will allow you to do just that.

Currently launched in London, Timelooper allows visitors to experience London’s most historical moments just by using their smartphone and a cardboard headset. Some of the 360° virtual reality videos go back to the year 1255. Users can witness the Great Fire of London in 1666, as well as the Blitz during World War 2.

The Timelooper app, which is location-based (meaning it can only be activated at given sites), could change tourism as we know it. Instead of being told how things used to be at a certain location, visitors can physically see it through a recreation of architectural structures, societies, and events.

CEO and Founder of Timelooper, Yigit Yigiter tells Refinery29 in an interview that since tourists would be concerned about having wifi or internet connection at these sites, the app allows users to “download the videos anywhere, but unlock at the site.”

As for the cardboard box, visitors will be able to purchase them at museums, attraction sites, and souvenir shops.

In this video by The Trailblazers, Yigiter says the process to create this experience involves historical research, a 360° shot of the location, a green screen recreation of the era using actors and props, followed by 3D modeling and visual effects to complete the experience.

The video gives a sneak peak of how Timelooper travels back to the Nazi bombing raids in Trafalgar Square, one of London’s famous tourist locations.

So is Timelooper coming to a city near you? Yigiter tells Refinery29 that there will be seven stories going live in New York City in the next two months. “We are in a partnership with CNN, in a documentary called Generations, and we will be doing the '80s,” Yigiter said. Tourists and locals in NYC will be able to travel back in time to recreate the famous VJ Day kiss in Times Square in 1945, and to Federal Hall in 1789 where George Washington gave his first inauguration speech.

Timelooper will launch globally to sites including China, Spain, and Washington D.C. Yigiter tells us he’s most excited to recreate the fall of the Berlin Wall, which will be live in mid-April.

“The app will also be teaming up with production companies so that they can upload their content to our app,” Yigiter said. He added, “There are events happening everyday, like protests or national events, like the Cherry Blossom in Japan, and the Times Square New Years Celebration, that people can experience when they visit.”

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