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A window to the past

Retrospective icon

Retrospective is an augmented reality app for iOS (iPad and iPhone). It was developed in the Summer of 2012 for Visual Interfaces for Mobiles @ NCSU (CSC 495/591 & ADN 492/592)

Post @ Blog

Video @ Vimeo

Video @ Youtube

Elevator Pitch

Retrospective gives you a window to the past. Match the photographer’s position and see exactly what the camera captured years ago. Overlay the original picture with the current view to explore the past in a unique way. Share time travel through photography on Facebook and Twitter.


  • Web server for serving new pictures
  • Facelift
  • Smooth overlay movement
  • Crowd-source positioning: On user demand, disabled Location/Heading movement and allow user to center picture manually. Capture user location, heading to improve data.
  • Capture both photographer's position and object's position for each picture.
  • Implement Twitter sharing and polish Facebook integration.


  • Unable to record screen (video shows a mockup instead)
    • Simulator doesn't have: camera, compass
    • Outdoor screen was impossible to record
  • Running the app on a device requires an Apple Developer account

Ideation and Development

Previous names

  • Picture This
  • Oculos (Latin for eyes)
  • LookingBack

Naming Brainstorm

  • Picture This
  • Oculos
  • LookingBabck
  • Instapast
  • Retropic
  • Time Machine
  • Remember This

BOLD items where selected and used at some point during development

Original Elevator Pitch

PICTURE THIS for the iOS let's you see Raleigh as it once was. Point your phone at a landmark and you will see it as it was in the past, and as it is today. See how the passage of time has changed your city with PICTURE THIS!

Tagline Brainstorm

  • A new way of viewing pictures
  • A window to the past
  • See what the photographer saw
  • Overlay the past in the present
  • Amazing Travel in Time Photography

Scenario / User Story

Raleigh has grown so fast and all the pictures of its history, stored in multiple archives, are hard to connect with the current reality.

John is a history student at NC State. A Raleigh local, John is passionate about the history of Raleigh and its change across the years. John’s friend, Laura is from out of state and knows the modern city we all see now. Walking in Downtown Raleigh, John is explaining Laura the growth the Downtown has had the last years. He pulls his iPad out and points to the Plaza Condominiums building. A picture from the building’s construction is available and shown overlayed of the current view of the building. Both walk closer to match the photographer's position and take a better look of how the construction site looked back in the day.

RETROSPECTIVE THIS is a unique way of exploring our city’s past.

Presentation frames

  1. Presentation Frames
  • Meet John (zoom in name tag)
  • Zoom out of the tag full sticky man, tell his history
  • Pan camera to the right, Laura is there
  • Map of downtown raleigh, zoom in to their location
  • Building view, ipad slides from right
  • They move closer, ipad and background are updated
  • They take a picture
  • Share it to facebook
  • And go to list to find a nearby place!
  • “Keep exploring Raleigh”


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