Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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VR Respite Room

Use Virtual Reality webcams and Artificial Ambience to 'get away from it all.'
  [vote for,

This idea isn't about Virtual Reality per se which is well baked. It is about a specific, and hopefully novel, way of using VR to 'get away from it all' without the time and expense of travel.

The idea is to build a windowless, waterproof room within your house outfitted with a comfortable chair. Mount a flatscreen (preferably a non-backlit HD LCD) on the front wall and one on each of the side walls but cover them with window glass and frames using as much effort as it takes to make them look like windows rather than just mounted screens. The technology itself isn't all that critical. If you can afford and desire full-on VR helmets then go ahead. Old CRT screens would still suffice if that's all you can afford.

Each of these screens will permanently display live images from the natural location of your choice. ( My preference would be for an African waterhole.) The screen in front of the viewer would show the waterhole itself while the ones on the left and right would show the corresponding views from the source blind in Africa. Sensors from the blind would also transmit sounds and local weather conditions which would be replicated in the Respite Room. If it is 38C with 93% humidity in Africa then so would it be in your room. If a rain shower passes over then the lighting would dim and sprinklers in the ceiling give you a spray.

I believe it is important to pick your location, whether it be an African waterhole, Canadian mountain lake, South American riverbank or whatever and stick with it forever - no channel surfing. After a few years of slipping into your Respite Room to enjoy little breaks from your day-to-day life, the suspension of disbelief would become total. You would be in complete synch with the local seasons whilst recognizing individual animals and being engrossed in their natural dramas.

Dress appropriately.

AusCan531, Jan 15 2012


       My only concern with doing exact temperature and humidity matching is that it will detract from the through_a_window experience you're trying to simulate; it would definitely be fun if you had wall- to-wall screens. I like the three webcam immersion idea. Shirley someone is doing this?
daseva, Jan 15 2012

       not sure if you are really selling this idea very well. the whole second half just sounds like a flaw in the product.
WcW, Jan 15 2012

       I assume you would have a sound feed, too. It would be possible to make it 2-way: you clap your hands, and the sound is transmitted to Africa, where the animals are mildly startled... That wouldn't work so well unless you had exclusive access to the link, though.
spidermother, Jan 15 2012

       //the whole second half just sounds like a flaw in the product// Temperature changes, rain showers, buzzing insects, variable cloud cover and such are all part of the 'being there' experience. You're quite able to disable those features if you so wish and just watch the screens - but the Discovery Channel is already baked.   

       Wall-to-wall screens would be nice as would a ceiling display. The scope of technology is dependant upon what is available for your budget.
AusCan531, Jan 15 2012

       What if there was a way to pay for exclusive time interacting in the environment? Pay a dollar to simulate a birdcall sort of thing.
daseva, Jan 15 2012

       I've seen this in a TV show. I think it was called a 'holodeck' or something. Anyway, their version of it was complete tripe and would never work, but yours sounds feasible.
Alterother, Jan 15 2012

       Budget limitations? This is the halfbakery, man, the home of the kiritimaticentrifugomobile for Pete's sake. We're going to change the moon's albedo and flood part of Australia just to make it a bit nicer!
Budget, Schmudget.
methinksnot, Jan 17 2012

       True [me think snot] I never put an upper limit on what could be spent but am aware that we're not all Maxwell Buchanan. Actually, I'm not sure he is either.
AusCan531, Jan 17 2012

       Yes, [methinksnot], but the point of this is that an ordinary, if determined, person could actually do it. Sure, you could create a spectacular immersive setting given an unlimited budget, but that would be a different idea. So budget limitations do deserve a mention.
spidermother, Jan 17 2012

       It could be a nice small business idea. The tricky bit is setting up the original feeds from the waterhole, mountaintop or wherever. Once they're established then anyone could access them for a small fee. The only wrinkle would be the 2-way aspect [spidermother] and [daseva] mentioned. I'm not sure having 500 online viewers clapping hands, simulating birdcalls or dispensing gazelle food pellets would be viable or desirable.
AusCan531, Jan 17 2012

       By the same token, hordes of people physically visiting the water hole is problematic in all sorts of ways. Shared, virtual tourism FTW?   

       Have you heard about the internet feed from the bald eagles that happened to nest on a window ledge? That would be a starting point for this kind of trickery.
spidermother, Jan 17 2012

       I understand and respect what you mean with regards a budget. Today I feel full of "possibility" and the 'bakery is the house of YES WE CAN!   

       However, on a more practical note, the moolah invested In the interactive sprinkler system, waterproofing, drainage (presumably) and all that palaver would go a long way towards more, biggerer, betterer screens (or a smell-o- vision set-up?).
methinksnot, Jan 17 2012

       Quite, quite true [methinksnot]. Please remember though that the idea pertains more to having a getaway-from-it-all room permanently displaying live feeds and feedback from another locale rather than any specific plumbing and hardware. The technology could range from full-on holodeck (currently impossible) to wraparound posters (static and boring). The sprinkling and drainage systems could all be left out as they would be pretty involved and costly as you say.   

       It is more important to get 'a sense of the place' rather than 100% fidelity. Perhaps a slight spritz of moisture puffed at your face rather than a full-on downpour although it would be desirable to replicate the subtle changes in light levels one experiences in the Great Outdoors as well as the general temperature variations. It is all aimed to aid your suspension of disbelief so you feel as if you really are 5,000 Km's from home and your day to day stresses.   

       I know when it's 40C and sticky here in Perth it would be very pleasant to escape to a chilly room with live images of a Canadian winter lake and watch the whiskeyjacks and ravens fossick in the snow. Conversely those in a frigid climate would surely appreciate a quick trip to their hot African room to check on how that family of bush pigs are going raising the young'uns. Affordable Escapism is what we're after.
AusCan531, Jan 17 2012

       // Affordable Escapism is what we're after. //   

       Check in your nearest store for a green bottle with a black and white label that says, "Gordon's Gin".
8th of 7, Jan 17 2012

       //Gordon's Gin//. Good idea. But the two concepts aren't mutually exclusive mate. I can easily see myself coming home from a hard day's work then settling down on the veldt to watch the wildebeest migration with a G & T in hand for an hour or so. Gawd, I wish I could do it now.
AusCan531, Jan 17 2012


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