These Real-time Digital 'Portals' Connect People in Cities Hundreds of Miles Apart
The "portals" now connect two cities in Lithuania and Poland, with plans to install more in other countries.
From professional Zoom meetings to virtual travel experiences, we've all grown more accustomed to living our lives in the digital world. While these virtual interactions are usually reserved for people we know, one European company is aiming to build bridges around the globe with "portals" that let passersby in different cities peek into each other's lives.
The company, aptly named Portal, has already begun its world-unifying mission with two digital "doors" in Vilnius, Lithuania, and Lublin, Poland. Using a large screen, cameras, and a live feed, the "portals" allow people in these cities - more than 370 miles apart - to interact with each other in real time. Plus, they're centrally located near a train station in Vilnius and in the main city square in Lublin, so they've garnered lots of attention since their installation.
Benediktas Gylys, president of the Benediktas Gylys Foundation, is credited with coming up with the idea for these "portals." According to The Points Guy, Gylys says that the "portals" symbolize "a bridge that unifies and an invitation to rise above prejudices and disagreements that belong to the past."
In a world that can feel increasingly divided and isolating, the timing of the installation, which Vilnius Gediminas Technical University spent the last five years developing, is perfect. With the help of the Benediktas Gylys Foundation and Crossroads Centre for Intercultural Creative Initiatives, the Portal team plans to install "portals" in more cities in the future.
Possible connections include "doorways" between Reykjavik and Vilnius, as well as Vilnius and London. On the Portal website, people are also encouraged to share ideas for where they'd like to see a "portal" in their own cities.
For more information about the project, visit the Portal website.
Jessica Poitevien is a Travel + Leisure contributor currently based in South Florida, but she's always on the lookout for her next adventure. Besides traveling, she loves baking, talking to strangers, and taking long walks on the beach. Follow her adventures on Instagram.