Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Virtual zoo

Cheaper, cooler, more flexible.
  (+4, -2)
(+4, -2)
  [vote for,

Consider the museum, or zoo, or aquarium. They are expensive because they contain real things, sometimes living things that must be cared for. These are public venues that predate TV and computers. Video is cool, and HD video is really cool, and 3D HD movies like Avatar are a new level of image coolness. But I think there is still public relevance to zoos and aquariums because I think it is good to go to a place and experience as a group in an environment designed to facilitate this. Also, people and especially kids can experience actively, moving about and interacting with the physical place, not confined to a chair in a theater or squinting at a computer screen.

I propose that a Virtual Zoo could create such an environment but leverage HD and 3D technology to present images rather than real animals. Such a zoo might be sited in a place with an adequate population but without a real zoo or aquarium. The physical building would be similar to an aquarium but behind the (easily cleaned) glass are large screens. Around the screens might be dioramas to simulate the environment shown on the screen, to enhance realism and play down the "watching TV" aspect. These screens would show video of animals.

One way to get animal footage would be to use what must be long hours of real wildlife video. We see only the best moments on nature programs but the hour surrounding these moments could be looped.

Another source would be real zoos. Zoos are full of animals and sometimes they eat and fight and play but a lot of times they are resting or hiding. 3D HD cameras could be used to take footage of zoo animals, then edited to make maximally interesting loops for the virtual zoo. This footage would also serve as advertisement for the zoo providing it, so visitors to the Virtual Zoo would be motivated to visit, say, the Cincinnati zoo. The Virtual Zoo might feature one zoo or aquarium each month, prominently noting the name of the institution featured.

Another source would be CGI video. I was completely fooled by "Chased by Sea Monsters" when I accidentally tuned in. I yelled for everyone to come see this freaky shark, which turned out to be a CGI shark from the Devonian with a real diver alongside. The virtual zoo could have video of extinct creatures in a zoolike format, which is something real zoos do not have.

Finally there would be an enclosed ride around the circumference of the building. The ride would simulate a safari or submersible voyage with screens on both sides. There would be narration, music and excitement as one passed along before the screens viewing animals real or extinct. My inspiration here is the old Disney ride 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea where you peered out at sea monsters, volcanoes, ruins etc. So cool. The ride could be changed periodically so locals would stay excited. Old favorites might come back for reruns.

If locally successful, the franchise could be licensed. The physical building could be standardized and video material distributed to licensees.

bungston, Feb 01 2010

Chased by Sea Monsters http://store.discov...ail.php?a=DSC-55221
Documentary style, CGI critters. [bungston, Feb 01 2010]

Bestiary http://www.abdn.ac....stiary/bestiary.hti
I'd love one of these. [zen_tom, Feb 02 2010]

Rent a collar when you enter the museum and the exhibits will play with you Urban_20Remote_20Herding_20Array
[normzone, Feb 05 2010]


       Virtual zoo is a great idea.   

       In the zoo many times the animals are sleeping all day, but with images and videos of natural environment of animals is possible know more natural science.   

       May is possible to begin with virtual zoo within real zoo that great show.
Geovanny, Feb 02 2010

       I have philosophical objections to zoos, so I like this. Projected holograms would better (although they require dark environments). If done properly robotic animals could probably fool 99% of visitors.
xaviergisz, Feb 02 2010

       Is there a modern equivalent of the Bestiary? i.e. A book containing pictures and descriptions of animals, linking them to some form of Natural History narrative and providing a moralist commentary on their positions and behaviours?
zen_tom, Feb 02 2010

       / I would be bored. /   

       You would be in the NC-17 room every single day, 3D glasses on, muttering encouragement to the humpback whales.
bungston, Feb 02 2010

       Father-son animal-based relationships down the ages:   

       5000BC: "Let's go hunt an elephant for dinner."   

       1960AD: "Let's go see if we can spot an elephant while your mom fixes dinner."   

       1990AD: "Let's go to the zoo and see the elephants having their dinner."   

       2012AD: "Let's go to the zoo show and watch a picture of an elephant while we eat dinner."
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 02 2010

       Is there a modern equivalent of the Bestiary?   

       I've seen an Islamic Creationist zoology book where each entry explained why this particular creature hadn't actually evolved.   

       There is the Book of Imaginary Beings by Jorge Luis Borges, which examines all kinds of imaginary creatures from mythology and fiction.   

       Both lack creature specific moralising. Maybe this is a job for the followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster ...
Aristotle, Feb 02 2010

       I don't think anything *virtual* is a good as the real thing, but it is a nice idea. [quarter bun]
well, I gave a real bun - but this doesn' t mean the virtual zoo should replace the real zoos! thanks.
(there is some virtual elevator ride in the Empire State building that costs twice the $$, but gets you to the top faster!)
xandram, Feb 03 2010

       Bun for anything to help stop the mistreatment that animals have to endure in zoos. (Darn, my english is rusty!)
Pericles, Feb 04 2010

       2030AD: "Let's watch a 3D rendered movie of ourselves going to the virtual zoo whilst we inject nutritional supplements."
kodabar, Feb 05 2010

       2051 AD: "Let's watch Yar make a picture of the rat hunt on the Big Wall while we eat some rat."
bungston, Feb 05 2010


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