International “Portal” opens at Crothers

May 3, 2016, 12:10 a.m.

The Stanford Portal, a shipping container that allows individuals to have face-to-face contact with others in distant portals, opened on Monday. The Portal uses immersive video and audio features to facilitate the long-distance conversations.

Between May 2 and May 13, community members can have 20 minute conversations with people from portals in Isfahan, Iran; Mexico City; Herat, Afghanistan and Kigali, Rwanda. The portals maintain a translation staff to help facilitate international conversations.

The Portal is an effort from the group Shared_Studios, a technology collective not affiliated with Stanford. The group hopes that technology might help initiate cross-cultural dialogue.

“We ground the connective potential of technology in physical spaces to create environments in which distant people can naturally converse, collaborate, and play,” reads the group’s website. “We envision wormholes throughout the world, carved by an Internet you can walk through.”

Stanford is not the only U.S. location to house a portal. The feature is also operating out of New York, Milwaukee, New Haven, CT and Newark, NJ over the course of this year.

The Stanford Portal is located on the lawn between Crothers and Encina Commons. Those who wish to make an appointment for a conversation can do so through Shared_Studios’ webpage.

Contact Michael Gioia at mgioia2 ‘at’

Michael Gioia was Managing Editor of Opinions from Vol. 250-251; he also previously led the News division. He is from Plano, Texas and studied History and Modern Languages at Stanford. When Michael is not working for The Daily, he can generally be found reading or drinking coffee.

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