The birth of the virtual window

The Atmoph Window 2 could change night into day, a bad view into an amazing one, and likely change the attitude of many of us that occupy horrid windowless offices for the better. And the world needs more technology that could make people happier in their homes and offices…

atmoph room aw501

With the near-constant increase in display resolution – we’re now talking about 16K displays! – and the constant drop in display panel prices (I have a magnificent 49” display on my desk, for instance), I’ve long believed we could eventually replace the windows in our homes and offices with displays. These could provide a number of advantages, of course.

I’ve waited year after year for someone to actually build a product like this. I even thought Bill Gates might be the first to do it, given that, in his home, he already had dynamic, display-based art that changed based on who was viewing it. But, nope…even that didn’t happen.

The other day, though, I was on Indiegogo – where I regularly invest in the future – and ran into this product called Atmoph Window 2. I think this could be the beginning of a trend to make our homes and offices far more interesting and positive places to live and work. It would also make them far more power efficient, far more secure and far better able to survive our increasingly nasty weather events.

The virtual window

The concept of a virtual window is one where the physical (glass) windows in a home or office are replaced by displays presented as windows. These displays would work in concert to create the impression that your home or office is in another place or even in another imaginary or real world.

With resolutions and graphics that will make them eventually indistinguishable from real windows (recall this LG reality meteor gag from some years back), 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. Even offices in the middle of a building can have impressive views. You wouldn’t need to be a CEO to get a magnificent office with a view, anyone could have it, even at home.

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 anyplace 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, they could 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. (I’ve never met a cat that had this problem, and, I expect most cats would just leave the room if you tried.)

And imagine what this would do to the poor folks who have to work night shifts or work in places like city centers where the views are often depressing.

A true window into the future

The title of my weekly column is “Windows Into The Future” and given the Atmoph Window 2 could be a true window into the future, I thought it would appropriate to touch on in this space. We are increasingly moving into a period where our ability to tell what is real and what isn’t is becoming almost impossible.

Much of this, like Fake News, isn’t really a good thing. But the ability to turn night into day, to create the impression that our homes and offices are in better or even magical places (like Westeros or Westworld) would be amazing and, I think, make us all a bit happier and more content. Even changing an inside office (which I once had – and compared to a crypt) into what appears to be an outside office would do wonders for the attitude of many.

In short, I think this technology would make a lot of us a little happier…and we all need a bit more of that right now.


Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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