Do you remember all those science fiction films about the technology that allows people to fully immerse themselves in a gaming world? This is destined to become true eventually. But the device at hand is actually aimed to provide more than just a gaming experience. Let's not run ahead of ourselves though, we'd better go step by step.
The invention of Immersive Cocoon – which is what the device in question is called – was inspired by the film Minority Report and conceived by a former worker of the MIT Media Lab, John Underkoffer. The prototype was created by the NAU Corporation and its affiliate adNAU (Switzerland). What it is is basically a sphere that surrounds you with the environment of your choice, be it for relaxation or for work.
How it Works
The device provides you with an unusual and holistic out-of-body experience through a 3D motion tracking system made up of a bunch of cameras and a sensor pad on the floor. This system is capable of tracking arm, hand, and leg movements, making the environment created by the Dome act in response to your movements. All information goes through a processor placed in the basement of the construction, and is regularly transferred onto quick-refresh displays surrounding the person in the dome.
Is it Supposed to be Comfortable?
The expected answer is yes. The reason for that is the adjustable furnishings within and the gliding steps. The furniture can be adapted to recline, or provide an adjustable work surface. Thus you can transform the interior for the actual needs: to relax or work. With the minimal furniture inside the Cocoon can also be used for engaging in sports with a personal virtual coach, which will react to your movements possibly by correcting your posture (which would especially come in handy if you are practicing Yoga, for example). It seems to have enough space for any activity with no risk for you to harm yourself.
The Flipside of the Coin
On the one hand, this Cocoon presents great opportunities for work and joy, providing an easy way for people of all ages to play with body movements. You feel isolated when you want to, or you can work in a cozy environment if you can't get to the office in person.
On the other hand, however: wouldn't this isolation and full technical integration affect the social side of our life? Some people get carried away by computer games so much that they even forget to eat, but you can still easily come up to them and bring them back to reality. Wouldn't the situation here be a similar one, but on a much larger – and more dangerous – scale? Wouldn't we forget how to communicate with each other after some time, especially since the modern life makes us long for privacy? I believe this Cocoon poses a high risk for us to become privacy-addicted.
The Bottom Line
Beyond doubt, this is a great invention which can ease our life and provide new experiences in terms of the way you interact with the computer. Hopefully, this invention will be put to good use, so that it doesn't remain a simple toy.