People generally enjoy having a good view from their home or office windows.
However, some locations have a bad view (e.g. a dark alley or cement wall) or cannot accommodate windows at all (e.g. interior offices or basements).
Modern flatscreen displays can be as large as office windows (and some types consume very little electricity).
Thus, we can replace the nonexistent and/or bad windows with large-screen television monitors.
In order to provide a convincing view of the “outdoors” on these screens, we only need two things:
- The time of day, so the screens can show a proper day or night scene.
- The relative orientations of each screen (e.g., if one screen faces the sea, then a screen on the opposite wall could show a beach).
The scenes could be either real-world video (either live webcam video, or looped video from earlier), or computer-generated scenes. See Figure 1 for an example.
One additional benefit of virtual screens is that there is no requirement that the screens face out onto a practical (or even real) location (Figure 2).
For example, one could place an office:
- On the surface of the Moon
- Orbiting a distant science fiction planet or space station
- Under the sea
- In a windswept desert of endless sand dunes
- Inside an M.C. Escher print, modeled in 3D (this might be extremely confusing)
- Inside a video game (one could imagine a game development company setting their office windows to show scenes from the under-development game, in order to further oppress and crush the spirit of their programmers with the inescapability of the game)
Computer-generated locations could also feature 3D animations, like a buggy driving around the Moon’s surface or caravans crossing the desert.
This project requires only consumer-level hardware and a web site to implement, so I am actually surprised that it appears not to currently exist. You can make an ad-hoc version by using a maps site with Street View (e.g. Google Street View) and adjusting the orientation of your multiple displays accordingly. (The only downside to this method is that the image will not update to match the current time of day).
PROS: Allows you to cheaply obtain a beautiful view for your home or office without paying exorbitant rental prices.
CONS: Large displays can cost up to $200 a year (2019 prices) to operate 24 hours a day, and the entire idea is essentially a huge waste of energy (unless you can use the extra heat generated by the screens).