Your Virtual View of the World!

By Admin on 3 March 2023

With resolutions and graphics that will make them eventually indistinguishable from real windows, a flick of a switch could turn night into day, depressing weather into a warm summer day, or smog into crystal clear air. Welcome to the world of Virtual Windows!

When you wake up in the morning, come home after an exhausting day at work, or spend a day off lounging around, the same room always has the same view. The interior can be changed, but not what you see from your window. Just like there are songs for when you’re feeling down, and songs for when you’re feeling great, why not change the scenery and ambient sound to go along with how you feel? A window whose view is blocked by the next building, a room with just a tiny window, a windowless wall. How nice would it be if instead you could see a beach and a bright blue sky, a view of New York City at night, or a gentle rain to calm your mind?

But now, as one might expect, there is a high-tech solution. With virtual windows, you can gaze out onto the Golden Gate Bridge, the Taj Mahal or even an underwater seascape from the comfort of your own couch or office chair. They can be used in a room with a dull view, or an interior room with no real windows at all.

A virtual window is something that resembles a window, but through which you are viewing an artificially created scene rather than the actual outside world. Some even incorporate sound. There are different types to choose from depending upon how much variety and realism you want out of your scenery, and, of course, your budget. They can be faux windows or mock skylights and can include only one pane or many. In any case, they're illusions to make you feel better about your surroundings, and through them you can get a refreshing view of nature or some other part of the world -- even outer space.

Although a picture or painting on a wall could be in some ways be considered doing the same job, there's a bit more to virtual windows in most cases. They range from still images to videos to scenes that shift based on your movement.

Still Image Virtual Windows

Faux windows can be made using posters, decals, paintings, and murals, but a slightly more high-tech variety involves backlighting behind a nature scene printed onto a semi-transparent material. These virtual windows can be mounted or recessed into the wall and are often surrounded by a window frame and overlaid with crossbars that simulate panes to complete the illusion that you are looking out a real window. Double-sided versions that can be viewed from two rooms and ceiling-mounted skylights are available, too.

Virtual Windows That Incorporate Video

While many installations of virtual windows are in hospitals or other professional settings, they can bring the outside into private residences as well. The moving variety of virtual windows can include either projected video or video displayed on high-definition television sets.

Video virtual windows are also already on the market. They mainly consist of high-definition televisions turned to portrait orientation, with window frames (and sometimes crossbars or shutters) to more closely mimic standard windows. Like their static brethren, they can be hung or recessed into walls or ceilings as windows or skylights. They can even be made up of multiple monitors as individual panes.

Virtues of Virtual Windows

Virtual windows may sound like playthings for the rich and famous, or decorations for high-end corporate offices, but they do have some practical uses. We want, and perhaps even need, access to a view of the outside world, and we can't always get the real thing. Research show that people even seem to line their offices with more nature-related decorations to compensate when they lack a real view of the outdoors.

Aside from ventilation and a clue as to the time and weather outside, windows furnish us with light, colour and distraction from the static and sometimes boring everyday indoor view. Windows can create energy problems and keep architects and designers from making the most efficient use of space, but being without them often causes a negative psychological response in a building's human occupants, including feelings of tension, isolation, and depression. This can be especially true in places like hospitals, schools, and offices, where people tend to be stuck in one spot for long periods of time.

Access to windows, particularly with visible nature scenery, has a positive impact on work-related stress and employee satisfaction. It has also been demonstrated that window views of trees can aid in surgical recovery times and reduce the number of painkillers taken by patients.

With resolutions and graphics that will make them eventually indistinguishable from real windows, a flick of a switch could turn night into day, depressing weather into a warm summer day, or smog into crystal clear air. The ability to positively impact the mood and morale of employees and family members would be impressive.

In addition, if you stop cutting holes in walls to install traditional windows, you can significantly increase the insulation of the building (even double- and triple-pained windows aren’t very good insulators). This would also improve the security of a building, lower intrusion by insects, better manage interior air quality, lower building cost, and reduce intra-office jockeying for the limited set of outside-facing offices.

And if you want to collaborate, each one of these screens is potentially a collaborative video conferencing portal…a window from your office into any connected office any place in the world!

The really cool thing is that the views could not only be into places like your home so you could watch your pets or your kids, but they could also be linked in such a way that you could talk to them when you wanted. If your kid wants to ask you a question, they just ask the window and suddenly you can see them through their window and them through yours (granted this would need to be a secure link). You could keep an eye on your home or talk to your dog who might otherwise have separation anxiety.

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