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As a person walks down a Seattle street, she catches a glimpse of someone waving at her in the reflection of a storefront. A glance left and right reveals that no one is around, but in the window she is walking in a crowd. After a quick smile, this unwitting time traveler decides to stick around and take a deeper look at the woman in the glass. Without warning, but as if the time machine detected her curiosity, she is whisked away to another time. The hustle and bustle of 1900s Seattle passes by; neighbors waving hello, a man buying today’s paper from the newstand, kids running in the street. No one bothers the time traveler though. As she enjoys her newfound experience, a new member joins the scene in modern attire: another time traveler. In a moment, they are both transported to the same place – but a different time. A glimpse to the future! While some things look the same, new buildings, floating vehicles, and bright lights surround them both. Just as the second time traveler reaches out to point to the new tower in the background – the image disappears. Both women see just their simple reflections in the window as if nothing ever happened. The lights are gone, the crowds are gone. Just two women staring into an empty storefront.
Did they imagine it all?
Travel in Place is a storefront experience that allows users to come together and understand the notion of time on an unexpected, virtual level. When someone walks by, a video sensor will detect them and project them as a mirror on the storefront screen. Once their presence is made virtual, anything can happen; overlays of other passersbys will start to fill the screen. They may have walked by an hour ago, or two days ago but the experience will start to appear as if the streetscape is bustling once again. If they were to linger, specific (but unknown) gestures will trigger the virtual backdrop to change; to take on the form of another time coalesced with the present.