Window for One

Like a lot of SysAdmins, I work in a cave. No windows except for the odd Dell system, of course. No natural light whatsoever. It can get depressing. So I was pretty intrigued when I saw this Winscape virtual window.

I've actually had this idea for some time. Get a large, bright screen and show video of the outdoors on it. Hang it on the wall and frame it with some trim so it looks like a window, and voila! Instant techno-window. But this rig adds one cool wrinkle: parallax. Parallax is the changing of said view out said window as your position relative to said window changes. Simply playing video of the beach on a screen will yield less realistic results as it will lack the parallax effect.

Parallax in the Winscape rig is achieved with a transmitter on the viewer that sends location to a sensor on or near the virtual window display. As the viewer moves relative to the screen, a computer tracks the movement and updates the display accordingly.

As someone who deals with a lot of art and museum installation, I can tell you that there is at least one big potential problem with this kind of setup. How do you deal with more than one viewer?

The Winscape system, while cool in concept, is clearly only suitable for the basement-living single crowd. Pity.