Have you ever walked around a city and wondered what it used to look like in the past? What your everyday citizen was wearing, buying or what the trams looked like that used the old rails now unused on the cobbled street you’re walking on today? Or perhaps you might be daydreaming about the future, and might think about what the street you’re walking on might look like in several decades from now. Timescope has made this a reality.
With various terminals dotted around French cities, children aged seven and up are able to enjoy a unique experience at a particular Timescope terminal. They look similar to binoculars that you usually find at tourist lookout points dotted around the city. However, instead of being able to see to the present cityscape around you, you’re able to travel to either the past or future. The Timescope terminal can be adjusted in height, and the user can select what content they’d like to view as well as the language on a touchscreen.
Each terminal contains a 4K screen resolution display and an embedded stereo sound system. Users can look all around them and rotate completely at 360°. The terminals are fully customisable for clients looking to use them. In other words, you can choose colours, logos or branding and incorporate a payment system if clients want to have these options. The Tiimescope terminals can be placed inside or outside and are fully weatherproof and resistant to vandalism such as graffiti. Timescope install the terminals and are also responsible for maintenance. The terminals operate 24/7 and therefore there is no need for staff at each terminal.
VRFocus spoke to Adrien Sadaka, the co-founder and CEO about Timescope. The concept was born out of frustration with historical sites that Adrien and his co-founder visited when travelling. The sites were either receiving renovations, covered in construction equipment or there were too many tourists to truly enjoy or imagine what the site could have looked like. Taking matters into their own hands, they decided to re-imagine a virtual reality (VR) booth by making a self-service system that could work in public spaces for everybody from children to the elderly, with height adjustment. At the moment the Timescope terminal has a universal display that also enables individuals with glasses to see through them. Sadaka notes that in future the Timescope terminals would be able to adjust for each individual’s DPI.
When asked about why they didn’t use augmented reality (AR), Sadaka explains that VR is powerful in terms of feeling of presence and being inside an environment. Sadaka explains that his personal background is business and his co-founder is a historian. Timescope produce most of the 3D re-constructed content for Timescope, making sure to be as historically and accurately correct as possible. Most of the 3D models are made in Maya and Unity is then used to create interactions. So, when viewers use Timescope terminals there is gaze interaction and information pops up on spots they choose to focus on.
Timescope terminals are available in 15 locations in France with various languages available on every interface (English is available on every one), and customer satisfaction is very high. With 95% of users enjoying the experience and 75% of those choosing the option “wow” when prompted on feedback. Sadaka said that it was great to have somebody in their eighties or nineties who had been present during the events that the Timescope terminal showed say, “oh I remember it was quite like this!”.
Although the Timescope terminals are only available in France, Sadaka says that there has been a lot of demand from abroad and that 2018 will be coming to more cities soon. To find out more watch the video below.