Time Machine in SAPO/U.Porto’s lab and online SAPO


The project has been under development for some time, but it now knows its final and independent form. In addition to a news repository, it is an intelligent network of connections between personalities.

SAPO launches today, November 28, the online platform Time Machine. The name leaves no room for great doubts: it is a tool that allows you to go back a few years to find out what happened at the time. The content is filled with news and the form is defined through the connections between the personalities that dominated the media attention at the defined time.

There are 25 years of Portugal portrayed through 7 million news, most of which belong to the Lusa agency that made the news archive available for the project.

The concept was developed in a partnership between SAPO Labs and the Engineering College of the University of Porto (FEUP). The project was presented more significantly in the 7th edition of SAPO Codebits, with TeK presenting a preliminary phase of the idea.

During the last year, the project evolved in several areas, as explained to Tek by the person responsible for SAPO Labs, Benjamim Júnior. One of the points that has evolved is related to the entry of new journalistic partners in addition to Lusa, which allows access to information in real time. A great effort was also made to optimize the tool so that it works both on tablets and on less capable computer browsers.

Another new feature is the possibility for each user to define a personal page where they can have a more direct access to the information of the personalities who tell them the most.

Project in the area of ​​journalism, research tool, interactive tool or historical social network. Any of the definitions can describe the Time Machine that was already available in another format through the page “Mundo Visto Daqui”.

Benjamim Júnior prefers to talk about a democratization of information. “The Time Machine is a sophisticated tool for information professionals and for all people”. One of the goals of the online platform is to be able to turn files into something that is not boring, because “it takes courage to send ourselves to some files”, confessed.

The users can search for an event by data or by the person who marked that time. Benjamim Júnior highlights an event – the death of Ayrton Senna in May 1994. When a research falls on personalities, a network of links is presented with other elements that share media references at the time and that may even be related to the news. In the case of the death of the Formula 1 driver it is the names related to motorsport that appear in the “web”.

“This type of information conveys an emotional connection, it brings back memories. The name Time Machine is emotional ”, reveals the coordinator of SAPO Labs in conversation with TeK.

The entire research process is done automatically and generated by computers. Behind the Time Machine, there are many other aggregated projects that can continue to evolve from here.

Currently SAPO Labs is also developing ideas in terms of video classification, treatment and analysis of social networks and projects in the educational area.

Posted in News.