An Automated Time Capsule That Sends Gifts to the Future

Slate’s design blog.
Dec. 30 2013 9:59 AM

An Automated Time Capsule That Sends Gifts to the Future

131231_EYE_TB2
The Timeless Box can be programmed to open up to 10 years in the future.

Courtesy of Honest & Smile

It’s that moment of the year when nobody can ignore the ticking clock, as the world collectively anticipates the forced countdown to another year, and muses about an unknown future.

And while nobody has quite solved the puzzle that would allow us to physically time travel into the future, Barcelona, Spain, design collective Honest & Smile has designed a whimsical new device that creates the possibility for what it calls “emotional time travel.”

The brainchild of Ignasi Giró, who studied physics before becoming Honest & Smile creative director, the Timeless Box is a device that helps people to send “gifts, messages and emotions, to whomever they want, anytime in the future.”

Advertisement

Just deposit your intended message or gift inside the sleek, reusable aluminum or titanium box, program it to open up to 365 days or 10 years into the future depending on the model ... and wait.

Giró’s idea is an automated time capsule or letter in a bottle that allows anyone to slow time in a fast-moving world, to build anticipation, create suspense, forestall instant gratification, create a sense of presence on the other side of the world if it’s impossible to be there in person.

131230_EYE_TB
Time travel for gifts and emotions

Courtesy of Honest & Smile

Now in the eleventh hour of a successful Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, Giró says he’s been interested to see the reactions to his idea.

“We feel that this product is a bit like a Rorschach test,” he wrote in an email. “Each person suggests different uses, depending on their personality. Some people directly connect with the emotional value, and consider using them as a legacy, or to leave something for their kids in some years to come.” Others, he said, have suggested creating further intrigue by leaving keys inside a timeless box to open other boxes.

But Giró said that his invention has also brought out a more sinister reaction in those who have said they would leave it empty, or fill it with a painful confession, or use it to punish kids or friends by locking up their iPhones or other pet personal devices. “It's really a multilayered product that inspires many different people in many different ways,” he wrote. “And we just love that.”

The Indiegogo campaign ends Jan. 1 and boxes are expected to ship as soon as February. For a simulation of the experience, the makers have created a Virtual Timeless Box that lets you send messages to yourself or someone else up to 365 days in the future.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.