Virtual Reality Tech Lets You 'Teleport' Back in Time

The Teleport 3D camera attaches to most smartphones.
The Teleport 3D camera attaches to most smartphones. (Image credit: Teleport)

The feeling you got when you first saw your newborn's face. That glorious moment when the entire family was laughing over dinner. The epiphany you had when you reached the peak of your favorite mountain. If only you could travel back and experience those instances again.

A group of engineers is hoping to do just that with a virtual reality (VR) system that lets you take 3D videos with your phone and an accompanying virtual reality headset that lets you experience those memories again, whenever you want.

"Family started the idea," said Justin Lucas, one of the technology's creators. "Viewing 2D videos is how we look back at past moments. We wanted to create a more immersed feeling when viewing those favorite past moments." [Best Apps for Virtual Reality Newbies]

And they wanted to do it on the cheap.

Teleport VR headset. (Image credit: Teleport)

"We wanted to create something affordable that anyone with a smartphone can use," said Lucas, adding that current technology to take 3D videos and then experience them through VR already exists. However, that existing technology costs thousands of dollars, he told Live Science.

Called Teleport, the new system includes an aluminum 3D camera with two lenses, each of which acts like one of your eyes to capture the images from a slightly different perspective. Like your brain, the camera then combines these two views into a 3D picture.

Once you clamp the small camera onto your phone — the system works with iPhones and Androids — an app lets you use your phone to snap and store the video from the clamped-on camera. Then, you can attach the phone to either a VR headset created by Lucas and his team or a Google cardboard VR headset, he said.

And you can, for instance, "fly" through the Toys 'R' Us in Times Square — with a face-to-face with Mr. Potato Head, to boot — or as one team member did, watch your daughter eating a cream puff at a bakery in New York City.

For a limited time, Lucas and his team are selling the VR camera, with a free VR cardboard headset, for $49; the Teleport VR headset for $19; and the Teleport VR camera and Teleport headset for $69. The team is raising money for their project through Indiegogo. As of today (Dec. 12), the campaign had raised $62,242 in funding, with 43 days left.

Other affordable virtual reality systems are in the pipeline by the likes of Samsung, whose Samsung Gear VR, selling for $199, works with the Galaxy Note 4 and lets you experience apps and games in a 3D world.

Follow us @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science.

Jeanna Bryner
Live Science Editor-in-Chief

Jeanna served as editor-in-chief of Live Science. Previously, she was an assistant editor at Scholastic's Science World magazine. Jeanna has an English degree from Salisbury University, a master's degree in biogeochemistry and environmental sciences from the University of Maryland, and a graduate science journalism degree from New York University. She has worked as a biologist in Florida, where she monitored wetlands and did field surveys for endangered species. She also received an ocean sciences journalism fellowship from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.