Winscape Virtual Window
Want to Wake Up in San Francisco or Paris? Turn Two HDTVs into a Virtual Window to the World with 3D Perspective
Winscape is a DIY project that features two HD plasmas in faux window frames that display whatever scene you’d like to see out your window. Using a Wiimote, the setup even detects your position in the room and shifts the perspective screens' high-resolution video to create the illusion of looking out a real window.
The kit, which will run $2,500-$3,000 from Rational Craft, aims to transport you to wherever you want to be, be it San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park or the view from the Space Shuttle. You can even collect your own footage of your favorite places and cycle through them throughout the day. An IR-emitting necklace keeps track of your position in the room, shifting the vista on the screen to simulate the real sensation of looking out the window.
Two 46-inch Panasonic TC-P46G10 plasma screens bring the images to life. They are fed by an Apple Mac Pro workstation in the adjacent room running custom OS X software called Winscape. Using the displays’ physical layout parameters, the Winscape software renders the proper portions of the video to fill the appropriate displays using Quicktime and OpenGL. A Wii remote reports the position of a custom-built IR-emitting necklace in the room via bluetooth. The Winscape software uses this tracker information (when available) to shift the view for the person wearing the IR necklace. Sleep, Wake, and Scene Selection can be controlled by a web page served by the software or by the Winscape Remote iPhone App.
Real windows are interactive - unlike a painting on the wall. When you move your head in relation to a window, the view outside shifts up/down/left/right. If you want to see something in the window’s right periphery, you can move your head left to bring it into view.
The system simulates that effect by knowing the location of the viewer’s head in relation to the Winscape displays. The effect will only look correct to the one person in the room wearing the tracking device, so it’s presented more as a fun party gimmick than as a feature for full-time use.