A 2004 museum modernisation programme provided the opportunity for the development of these viewers into the past. The first kronoscopes were developed by the Hungarian Academy of Science Computer and Automation Research Institute (MTA SZTAKI), which applied for and won funding and realised the project with the Budapest University of Technology and other subcontractors. The basic idea of the kronoscope comes from the head of the Geoinformation Department, Ádám Szentgáli, and his colleague and Hungarian video glasses pioneer, László Holakovszky, elaborated and managed the project. When the development work at that time was completed the inventors left the research institute and set up their own company, Kronoptik Kft., which set out to continue the development of the kronoscope, patent it and put it onto the market.
The initial models that have been set up at the Roman Museum of Aquincum, Budapest and at the medieval Castel of Diósgyőr operated with microdisplays, driven by a PC. The acceptance of the kronoscope was very good by the public, but the solution had some weaknesses: intense sunshine resulted in loss of contrast of the displays intended for indoor operation so the image quality became poor after a few years. These devices are not in operation any more.
We had to find a new construction and with the help of funding from a grant the new, fully-mechanic kronoscope was completed in 2011, the first five of which were set up in Kisnána Castle following an order from the local government. This model of the kronoscope has also been in operation at the Aquincum Museum since spring 2012.
Recent advances of technology brought in 2013 new, high-quality microdisplays to market enabling us to return to the electronic solution and implementing a set of new functions. The original construction has been completely redesigned. The kronoscopes installed at the Fort of Szigliget at the Balaton display full-motion video with sound effects and – following further developments – the kronoscopes in the Castle of Eger offer 360 degree full-motion panorama. Here, also the lookout of the device was modernized.
The new, electronic Kronoscope in Eger Castle