I like looking out of windows. I like opening them to let in the fresh air. But windows are also a big bother. I need to close them when it rains, or when it is too hot or too cold, which is most of the time, or when the neighbors are noisy, which is all of the time. Windows get dirty. They cause glare on my computer screen. And if you have nearby neighbors, you end up keeping the shades down all the time anyway. And you might worry about bad people crawling in your windows.

Now suppose you had an underground house. This house isn't too far underground - just enough to get the benefits of insulation and never having to paint the outside walls. And instead of windows, imagine that the cost of flat screen TVs keeps dropping, so you can have a vivid video of, for example, the ocean, on 100-inch screens on as many walls as you like. You could even have the muted sounds of the waves and seagulls.

You could bring in the natural light using light tubes. That would be an improvement over windows that are only on one side of the house.

As for fresh air, a properly built home with low VOC paints and finishes, and a whole house filter, would have much cleaner air than the outdoors. I can imagine the systems of the future being outfitted with artificial scents to correspond to the views on the TV walls.

Obviously if you have a home with a great natural view, you prefer your home to be above ground, even if it costs more. But most people don't have a great view. You might be looking at the side of your neighbor's house, or the street. For you, TV views and filtered air could be a big improvement. At least until your house catches on fire and you try to escape through the TV.
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Aug 18, 2009
I saw this in the Arnie movie "Total Recall"
Aug 17, 2009
I had a similar idea. I wanted to use flat panel monitors which would show realistic views of the outside world based on current weather polled from some weather website. If you wanted to you could also tell it where you wished you were instead of telling it to simulate the local conditions.

This product would be marketed to cube dwellers like myself who don't have a window view or any idea of what it looks like outside at any given moment.
Aug 16, 2009
Sorry, the plants would -provide- all of your requisite oxygen.
Aug 16, 2009
There was an interesting TED Talks piece on how you can make a ratio of house plants to people for fresh air. If you had four ficas plants, for instance (or some flora like that) you could in theory put your house in a large tupperware container, and the plants would require all of your requisite oxygen. Fresh air.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Aug 16, 2009
Scott...you should read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Written over 50 years ago it already described full wall TV panels with soothing ocean scenes.

Oooooo......I should read all the other comments too. Pesky scroll bar!
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Aug 15, 2009
I am lucky enough to live in a small village in southern Wisconsin and I actually have a chair next to the window in my room which looks out on a village ball park and the rural countyside.I have lived in places with not much of a view and am so lucky to be where I am.Staring out a window at 3 AM with total quiet can be good for the soul.
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Aug 15, 2009
You need to go to Tunisia and stay in the Hotel Sidi Driss in Matmata. It served as the Lars Moisture Farm in a couple of Star Wars movies. The townspeople mostly live in similar dwellings, though with fame and tourism has come Western-style hotels and such.
The central courtyard is a hole that's been dug straight down about 30-40 feet, and the rooms are 'caves' off the courtyard. Cool in the heat of the day (very important for this part of the world!) and dark for sleeping, but open the door to the courtyard and voila! sunshine and fresh air. Most have a tree planted in the middle for fruit or just aesthetics (also handy for drying laundry).
Again, limited options for fire escapes, but it's hard to burn down earth and rock. Add a few fire extinguishers and you'd be covered.
Aug 14, 2009
All you'd have to do is program your Remote to an outside channel, hit ENTER and Poof!
Out you go!
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Aug 14, 2009
Most people are trying to avoid being put in a box underground for as long as they can. Scott can't wait!
Aug 14, 2009
You're a cave troll, aren't you?
Aug 14, 2009
This sounds like another in a long line of "I hate the real world" posts. I know, you voice some good ideas - the below ground living is highly efficient - but it seems they all the posts can be meta-structured as "Isn't the real world inconvenient? I found a way to live in a sealed, efficient box that is better than living in the open air".

The depth issue is a point - as you walked around the screen the perspective wouldn't change. The only way this would work would be some kind of sensor that adjusted the perspective. Or, like some of the Vinge novels, people wear contact-lens computers and have blank 'spots' on the walls that get filled in.

I'm sure if you had no choice (or wanted to live cheaply), that a cheap room underground with all of your ideas would be preferably to a windowless room underground...or a non-affordable room above ground. I lived in a basement apartment for a while and would have liked the light and the window.

We're also not addressing how ungreen it is - those screens all use power.

Maybe some kind of compromise. Put the stuff underground that BELONGS underground - like power, transport, car storage, cars, and rooms that dont need an outdoors like media rooms and guest rooms - and put the other stuff up in nature.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Aug 14, 2009
you can't beat real daylight - it soothes the mind
Aug 14, 2009
A good scifi short story about this (forgot the name, but scifi authors supply most of my original thinking) points out the technology we're still missing: the view through a TV does not have depth. It would feel like you had mobile posters on your walls, not windows with a field of view.

But if that challenge is fully solved, what would be the real differences between living in a countryside estate, and simply seeing it perfectly around you?
Aug 14, 2009
The care currently saying that LED screens will become as thin as a credit card.


Imagine room/house that has A LED screen for wallpaper (even on the roof). Your entire room could then simulate environments. You could wake up with a sunrise over the grand canyon, or with waves breaking on the north shore.

You could select a area to be a TV/PC console. You could even use camera’s if you wish to see what is going on outside.

This would be very cool!!
Aug 13, 2009
In Cooper Pedy, South Australia, many (most) of the houses are halfway to Scott's underground goal. In Scott's batcave it would be possible to "pipe" outside light in using optic fibres. And of course, above ground cameras and microphone could capture the sights and sounds of the neighbourhood when you want them. To comply with Building Regs (at least in Australia) such accommodation would need fire sprinklers (no climbing through the TV for you) and it would be necessary to have CO monitors/alarms and a spare oxygen cylinder just in case. Of course the sights and sounds could also be visible of your neighbour's house, your parent's, anyone who lets you view their house (street) cameras via the big fat internet pipes we are all hoping for.
Aug 13, 2009
Rats and other not so nice nocturnal creatures live underground.
With flyovers and monorails running past my house, I already feel I am living half-underground - and I hate it.
I work in a loft without windows - and I hate it.
No amount of TVs can substitute fresh air and sunshine.
Give us some ideas that will improve our life - not worsen it.
The closing line was great, though.
Aug 13, 2009
Scott said: "At least until your house catches on fire and you try to escape through the TV."

I'm already escaping from life via the TV, why not escape death as well?

Sorry, the straight line was too hard to ignore.

I could live in the u/g house, I think. I've spent half my life cooped up in cubicle farms or industrial facilities with similar characteristics.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Aug 13, 2009
The concept of replacing windows with TVs, light tubes, and fans seems mostly independent of the concept of having this underground.

Doesn't an above-ground windowless home with this technology solve your list of problems equally as well?
Aug 13, 2009
The shocking thing is that no one thus far has mentioned the obvious.

The idea of setting up views on your wall is not original.

Read _Fahrenheit 451_ by Ray Bradbury.
Aug 13, 2009
Ramis wrote:
"The problem you're trying to solve is cleaning your windows and opening and closing them? And your solution is to move underground?

When you want a beer, do you move into the brewery?"

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