A European city has built a futuristic 'portal' to another country in a bid to help people stay connected.
The city of Vilnius, in Lithuania, installed the portal next to Vilnius Train Station on May 26, allowing city dwellers to make contact in real time with residents of Lublin, Poland. Another similar portal has been installed in Lublin's central square, allowing all those who use it to communicate back.
Both portals have the appearance of a virtual circular 'door', made up of a large screen and cameras through which live images are transmitted between the cities.
The project, which has been five years in the making, is intended to create a 'visual bridge and new wave community accelerator', bringing people from different cultures together with an emphasis on unity.
President of the Benediktas Gylys Foundation, Benediktas Gylys, who first initiated the idea, said: "Humanity is facing many potentially deadly challenges; be it social polarisation, climate change or economic issues. However, if we look closely, it's not a lack of brilliant scientists, activists, leaders, knowledge or technology causing these challenges... It's tribalism, a lack of empathy and a narrow perception of the world, which is often limited to our national borders.
"That's why we've decided to bring the PORTAL idea to life - it's a bridge that unifies and an invitation to rise above prejudices and disagreements that belong to the past. It's an invitation to rise above the us and them illusion."
The portal was built by engineers from the Vilnius Tech creativity and innovation centre LinkMenu fabrikas. The circle shape was intended to resemble 'the wheel of time', allowing users to travel and experience reality on the other side of the bridge, while the design is intended to help shape the notion of a city from the future.
Director of LinkMenu fabrikas, Adas Meskenas, said: "The portal was an impressive and exciting project from the very beginning. From the initial idea to the creation of an interactive bridge connecting cities, it was a complex task that required specific knowledge and technologies. From design and 3D modelling, to digital content development and logistic challenges - a project like this requires a broad and multifunctional team.
"Meaningful projects like this one are born when diverse people succeed in working together and achieving synchronicity. And this is just another example of what people who are united can do."
This futuristic-feeling project is not a one-time thing. Residents in Reykjavik, Iceland, and London, England can expect a portal in their city in the future.