The cities of Vilnius in Lithuania and Lublin in Poland unveiled mirror-like "portal" installations connecting both cities in real-time, a press statement by Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (Vilnius Tech) explains.
The sci-fi-like portals were designed to connect and unify people in different parts of the world amid the months of isolation caused by the pandemic, and the increasing "social polarization" of recent times.
The devices look like circular doors into another world, as imagined in many fictional worlds of fantasy and sci-fi. In fact, the team behind the project said it chose the circle as it is a well-known sci-fi symbol for an interactive "bridge." The minimalist design with LED lighting, meanwhile, was chosen to portray the image of a future city.
In this case, unsurprisingly, you can't step through the portal into another location, though you do get the next best thing.
Located 376 miles (606 kilometers) apart, both "portals" feature large screens, cameras, and an internet connection, allowing them to show what's happening in real-time at their parallel location — maybe one day we'll learn how to add those wormhole capabilities.
'A bridge to unity'
The project was designed and built by engineers from the LinkMenų fabrikas center at Vilnius Tech, and it's not a one-time project — the team aims to eventually connect many cities, with the goal of highlighting global collaboration and harmony.
"That’s why we’ve decided to bring the crazy idea of PORTAL to life — it is a bridge to unity, an invitation to rise above prejudices, above the disagreements that belong to the past, it’s an invitation to rise above the illusion of us and them," Benediktas Gylys, the president of Benediktas Gylys Foundation, explained in the team's press statement.
The portal in Vilnius is located near the city's train station, while the one in Lublin was installed in the city's central square. The project took 5 years to organize, design, and build. Next, the team behind the project aims to build "bridges" to Reykjavik, Iceland, and London, England.
While the project obviously doesn't live up to the incredible capacity of the fictional portals it's designed to resemble, it does highlight the way that some of our technologies today were only recently imagined in science fiction. It's only through years of global collaboration, after all, that we could see a doctor perform surgery on a patient remotely in real-time.