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Virtual windows take you where you want to go

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - 02:58

Jan 19 - A small Silicon Valley-based company is making it possible for homeowners to look through their windows and enjoy a view of any scene they desire. Winscape's virtual windows are designed to transport homeowners to another place -- or time -- by projecting scenes like the Grand Canyon or Taj Mahal into their living rooms. Ben Gruber reports.

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Ryan Hoagland and Beth Sevilla have an amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge from there window. But all is not as it seems…. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BETH SEVILLA, CO-OWNER, WINSCAPE, SAYING: "You wouldn't know where we live, but it's not that." They don't live underwater and they definitely don't live aboard this train travelling through Norway. The couple have designed and built an interactive window display that gives the impression that you are gazing out into a real scene. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BETH SEVILLA, CO-OWNER, WINSCAPE, SAYING: "It's not just a display, it's so you interact with the window so it's like a real window. So when you walk towards it, it looks like you are looking more into the scene, so it blows in like a real window and when you walk back you see more of the landscape. That's the whole idea behind the windscape." The idea for Winscape began with another project the couple worked on called cityscape. Back then the couple were living in a ground floor apartment with an unattractive view of view bushes. Hoagland built a model of the Manhatten skyline with the perspective of being 50 floors up. Since then his idea has evolved and gone digital… While Cityscape was a model placed outside the window, Winscape is run off computer program. Hoagland placed two LCD screens into a wall in his family room. He then wrote a computer program that allowed the view to become interactive. Hoagland used the motion infrared sensors of a Nintendo Wii remote. The remote is placed near the display and a user wears a necklace that allows the remote to sense where the viewer is. As the viewer moves, the scene changes to match what the viewer would see. Just like if they were staring out of a real window. (SOUNDBITE) (English) RYAN HOAGLAND, CO-OWNER, WINSCAPE, SAYING: "I mean there are so many places you can use this just to kind of expand out your environment just a little bit. You might have an interior office at work and just have a cube wall but that doesn't necessarily mean it has to look like a cube wall. It could like you are anywhere you want. You are sitting at your desk and you just move your head a little bit and the prospective adjusts properly and you get the feeling that there is more there." The team want to replace the use of Wii remote with Microsoft's Kinect sensing technology which would do away with the need for a necklace. Hoagland is excited about the future of displays, he says massive changes are just around the corner. (SOUNDBITE) (English) RYAN HOAGLAND, CO-OWNER, WINSCAPE, SAYING: "As our living environments change so much, I am looking forward to the day when we have wall paper that we can put up on a wall that is an instant display. And the whole thing is a display and it can be anything you want. It can be a boring simple colour. It could have crawling wallpaper. You could have live video from anywhere in the world. You could have video chats with your grandmother. Anything you want, it's totally possible." Hoagland and Sevilla see no boundaries to where this technology is heading. They say the sky is the limit… Ben Gruber, Reuters.

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Virtual windows take you where you want to go

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - 02:58