Rethinking Time Travel: We have already achieved it.

Let’s close the case by stating that Time Travel – in it’s general definition – is not possible; as far as our current knowledge goes. I will not bore you with the details, read it up here.

But we have already achieved a form of time travel.

Before that let’s study how time travel is currently defined. In short, Time Travel is the concept of moving between different points in time in a manner analogous to moving between different points in space.


We would generally refer to an object, a person, a thing, a camera or something to move within points of time.


Within whose points of time?

1. Does the object move within it’s own timeline? Person getting younger. Egg “unbreaking” <- Omelet “uncooking” . (Reversing 2nd law of thermodynamics)

2. Does the object move within it’s “system” time?  Person going back in time to see, hear and feel himself as a baby. Omelet going back in time to see itself as an egg?

Classical Time TravelI’ll take the second idea and expand on it. The keywords are “to see, hear and feel” the past.

This is where I tell you, we have already achieved a form of time travel.

What if instead of saying, “The object moved back in time to see, feel, hear (experience) it’s own event” I say “The event went forward in time to show (visual, auditory, sensory) itself to the object“. So the image becomes:

RethinkTimeTravel_ReimaginedWe are already “seeing and hearing” the past. We had achieved a form of time travel through the first audio recording and the first image recording.

First Time Travel: Image, Photographs

Camera Obscura, earliest form of photography emerged from nature. A small pin hole opening in a cave projected an inverted and horizontally flipped image on the cave’s back wall. Read more here.

The world’s first permanent photograph from nature taken by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce.

1825 Oldest Photograph

1825: Oldest Photograph

The worlds oldest surviving negative.

1835 Worlds oldest negative

1835: Worlds oldest negative

First Time Travel: Audio

The first time travel with audio information to be passed on was through a process known as Phonautograph. Audio sound automatically written down (phonoengraving) as ‘scribbles’ onto a metal surface. The first phonoengravings before 1861 was recently decoded in 2008(!)

Listen to the first audio recording of Au Clair De La Lune here.

Listen to the first wax cylender recording of Kham Hom – Sweet Words here, a Thai theater visiting Germany in 1900.

The Future

I just realized we have had this “time travel technology” for just 150 years. Compare that with the timeline of our civilization…

Maybe in the future we would be able to “send” audio, visual, olfactory (smell) and sensory data. We “tap” into the machine to remember the past and quite literally “be” there, feel the environment, touch, smell and listen to the sights and sounds.

Will we be able to transfer the olfactory/sensory information?

Will we build a device which interfaces with our brain to “Record” every sensory input? We have already achieved success with cochlear implants to transmit sound into a person’s brain who have never heard sound before.

Visual Recording and Transmission?

Olfactory Transmission?

Extremely difficult for some reason. I need to do more research on this. Why we still haven’t been able to transfer the sense of smell digitally.

Both the projects listed under HowStuffWorks “How Internet Odors will work”.

What do you think? Will we be able to watch movies, home videos and “time travel” with more than the two senses we use now?

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