Earlier this week, Timescope unveiled the newest in a growing line of “self-service virtual reality services” that transport viewers to a different time or place. In this case, you can peer into the machine, located near the Pont d’Arcole bridge which connects Paris's Ile de la Cité with the historic Marais district, and get a 360-view of the banks of the River Seine in 1628.
The Timescope unit on the newly pedestrianized walkway shows a very different city. By looking into the machine, which is free to use, you’ll see the cargo barges and fishing trawlers that once crowded the busy river. Point the telescope in a different direction, and see 17th-century architecture and streets built for carriages instead of Citroëns. In developing the animated 360-degree video, which is accompanied by the ambient street sounds of merchants and river birds, the Timescope team consulted with historians to make it as accurate as possible. An augmented reality (AR) element is added to the overall experience, as overlaid text points out important landmarks, like the Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall), which was completed during the reign of Louis XIII in—you guessed it—1628.