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Imagine two small rooms in different cities. Each is filled with a bed and no other furniture. On the side walls, very near the bed, are huge flat screen TVs with 3D cameras. You make a date with someone in another city - perhaps a spouse who is traveling for work or in the military, or perhaps a romantic friend you met on the Internet. You agree to a time, and decide which direction you will be facing to see each other. The screen you face will be the one displaying the other person looking back at you, appearing as if he or she is in bed with you. The bedding and beds would be designed to look like an extension from one virtual room to the other.

The wall behind you would display whatever scenery the two of you had agreed would be your location. It would look as if each of you had a window behind you. Perhaps the two of you decided you would be on a tropical island, or in a high hotel tower overlooking Paris.

A big part of the illusion would involve sound and lighting. Sensitive microphones would pick up all of the ambient sounds of your bed sheets. The scenery program running in the background would supply subtle ocean sounds, cricket chirps, or traffic noise, depending on the situation.

The lighting would be low, so that everyone looks good. The room around the bed would appear dark except for the virtual window behind each person. That would enhance the illusion of your togetherness. The 3D cameras would add depth.

Each person would also have a warmed body pillow to snuggle into during the virtual sleepover. The pillow wouldn't try to emulate the other person; it's just there for some tactile comfort.

I imagine this starting as a sort of hotel business model. You check in for the night, and the bed portion of the room is equipped as I described. In the beginning, you might only need a few of these rooms per state or small country. If you haven't seen your spouse/lover/friend for a long time, you'll be willing to drive a few hours for your virtual sleepover.

Eventually, high end homes will have virtual bedrooms that the kids will use for sleepovers with friends in other places. Army bases will have virtual bedrooms for spouse visits. Singles will meet online and decide to have a first date in the safety of their virtual beds. The elderly might want another oldster to keep them company through the night without the bother of actually living with another old person. Snorers will be able to spend the night in the same virtual bed by turning down the volume.

Yes, yes, the concept lends itself to virtual sex. But I think you can build a business model that doesn't require that.

I think virtual rooms will someday provide elderly folks with an illusion of the mobility they once had. Someday they will be able to press the "Himalayas" button and take a virtual helicopter tour through the mountains without leaving the wheelchair.

If you know anyone who plays Xbox Live, in which you can put on headphones and chat with friends in other places while playing, you know how popular virtual rooms already are. Adding a bed and 3D video is the next natural step. Maybe Apple will get into the game after they finish dominating every other market.

 
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May 4, 2012
Already been covered in the movie "Demolition Man" with one scene between Sandra Bullock and Sylvester Stallone where there was a virtual machine you put over your head (looked like a helmet).
 
 
May 1, 2012
You called it, Scott. This just in: Robotic Pillow for Long Distance Relationships.

http://mashable.com/2012/04/30/hugvie-robotic-pillow/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed: Mashable (Mashable)&utm_content=Google Reader
 
 
May 1, 2012
@mlin

You could try William Gibson perhaps, Neuromancer etc?
 
 
Apr 30, 2012
My company has video conference rooms that are set up sorta like this. It's pretty neat. It looks a lot like people are on the other side of an oval-shaped table. The rooms are decorated the same, and they use three big-screen high definition flat-panel monitors with three cameras that capture the table in segments.

The only illusion-shattering bit is that when you're on the right or left side of the table, and someone is looking at you, their video shows them looking to your right or left (respectively). Eye contact requires the person on the other end to be looking at the camera.
 
 
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Apr 30, 2012
this, along with many of scott's other futuristic idea posts, seems to lend itself to wally's (and his no doubt as well) position as a technosexual, i fear for the survival of the human race when we start substituting human connection for quality time spent with our individualized (Apple made) love bots, though no doubt by that time we'll have started baby farms as well, or some such other ridiculous thing
 
 
Apr 30, 2012
Security is an immediate thought. Even without virtual sex, imagine what a British tabloid could do with THESE wiretaps. Anybody remember the infamously icky chats between Prince Charles and Camilla? Want to imagine them as the two principals using this virtual bedroom? As for blackmail, there's a lot of perfectly legal and moral romantic behavoir that people would still pay to keep off the Internet.

Related thoughts: What if somebody devised a way to hack into the program and put, say, a virtual bum in the room who wouldn't leave until you made a payment to an offshore account? Or created a virtual moralist who couldn't be shut off at all? Or even virtually kidnapped a participant to his/her own virtual bedroom, perhaps presenting his/herself as a digital clone of the real partner?

On that last point, how difficult would it be to rig up a better-looking-and-sounding avatar for that date you met on the Internet? Either to deceive or to maintain an agreed-on anonimity?

Heck, even popup windows would be ruinous for this product.
 
 
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Apr 29, 2012
Scott,

A virtual bedroom is no match for the real thing. Here is a typical scenario that can never happen in a virtual bedroom.

===

The man, lying on his side, eyes shut, is about to drift into a nice, peaceful sleep. Wife is beside, on her back, staring at the ceiling.

"Honey," She whispers.

"Hmm...?"

"I think the tap in the kitchen is not closed properly. Pleeeeeeezzz..."

If you have done it yourself at midnight you would know that this closing-the-tap-in-the-kitchen sequence is not for weak hearts.

A simple, kindly person, who has never faced the hardships of life, could be forgiven for assuming that the man just stumbles out of the bed, drags himself to the kitchen and does the needful. The journey from the bedroom to the kitchen is one that a brave man can do blindfolded. An intelligent, rational person may even attribute some of the strange happenings to the drowsy, sleep-walking state of the man.

But I beg to differ. Life is never a smooth ride for our honest tax payer. Something always goes wrong at night. I think it is spooky - it is the horror of the nether world. There are some things that are simply beyond human cognition.

If you don't agree with me, explain this.

What was that tom cat doing on the basin? On the basin, next to the tap, mind you. No where else. The damn thing, which is so friendly on the dining table, suddenly screeches and springs up as if it has seen a wandering spirit in the dark.

That rubber duck, the one that should be in the bath tub, is now suddenly on the floor of the passage. The man never finds out till he steps on it and the shrill squeal makes him leap in the air like a cold penguin on a hot plate.

A short while later, after this spine-chilling tryst with destiny, when the disheveled man returns to the bed, the wife mumbles,

"Honey, did you hear that? Someone is at the door... Who can that be?"

"Huh?"

"The door bell, darling. It's ringing"

===

Now, can such a thing happen in a virtual bedroom?

Cheers,

.
 
 
Apr 29, 2012
Perhaps, if they had had a few of these in Colombia, the Secret Service guys might not have gotten in so much trouble.
 
 
Apr 29, 2012
And when i talk of intimacy i dont mean sex.
 
 
Apr 29, 2012
And when i talk of intimacy i dont mean sex.
 
 
Apr 29, 2012
I first saw, virtual boardroom on the title of this blog...

I have a hard time getting my brain around the virtual bedroom though.

How would one create the visceral intimacy thing?

Would drugs be involved for virtual feeling too.
 
 
Apr 29, 2012
Say that a national restaurant chain like Olive Garden made available a room with a virtual half-dining table. Then loved ones around the country could share dinner in the HD virtuality that you describe. The waiter could be made to look identical on both sides, the menu would be in common, etc.

(A hot tub would also be a good venue. Actuators could make it so you could splash each other.)
 
 
Apr 28, 2012
mike, try xkcd

Imagine this - a whole bedroom room paneled with video screens on every wall and the ceiling. You could tile small ones to cut down the cost. Then imagine a choice of full field panoramic web-cams, or even just prerecorded sequences. As dawn approaches you hear bird song and the light slowly fades up until the sun breaks over the horizon, or over the nearest mountain.

Or cut the cost, and just make a DVD that I can set as my alarm in the morning.

Or give me the whole virtual bedroom. It's only a matter of time until it's cost effective.

You could do an "Anniversary Inn" type business model where you rent equipped rooms by the night to couples for fantasy get-aways. Snuggle with a pillow, probably not. Snuggle with my sweet wife on the shores of a tropical island, or at the foot of Kilamanjaro, or in a Parisian loft with a view of the Seine - sounds like fun.
 
 
Apr 28, 2012
A business model that doesn't include the one thing that would increase profits by 1,000%. Hmm.....
 
 
Apr 28, 2012
I've been waiting for a number of years now for virtual reality computers to step up and realize their full potential. I think instead of having a screen in the middle, you'll just put on your headset and enter a shared world with the other person or persons. Then again maybe we are already doing that and the shared world is already where we are. Just because it was in some movies and tv shows doesn't mean it can't be true. Storylines come from the imagination and imagination comes from where?
 
 
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Apr 27, 2012
Er, Isaac Asimov's "The Naked Sun"?
 
 
Apr 27, 2012
Cool idea. May I suggest that each person also place half a pizza at the bottom center of the screen.
 
 
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 27, 2012
I'm looking for more daily reading material, but need some help. Anyone want to take a stab at this fill-in-the-blank question?

"Mike likes reading the Scott Adams blog, so he will also like reading ________."

Thanks in advance.
 
 
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 27, 2012
"Sensitive microphones would pick up all of the ambient sounds..." I suppose it's too much to ask to have it filter out some of the more annoying sounds? I could do without the snoring and various digestive byproducts.
 
 
Apr 27, 2012
I think you're basically describing the next step towards the Star Trek Holodeck, which I've long maintained will be the end of human society. Why would I want to hang out with all these other boring normal people, when I can safely and securely be a pirate? Or a race car driver? Or a mountain climber? Why date normal looking women when I can date hot simulations (indistinguishable from the real thing)? In case you think I'm against it, heck no, I'm all for it. Some might think they're against it right now, but just wait til you experience the "real" thing.
 
 
 
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