The future is virtually here

Educational historical journeys are just one possible use of the Immersive Cocoon, a walk-in virtual-reality pod being developed by NAU, an international design collective that aims to revolutionize the way we interact with computers, CNN reports. Immersed in the pod, you could virtually walk along a street in Roman Pompeii at the start of the first millennium when you notice a spectacular stone building. You reach out toward it, and your guide informs you it’s a temple to the god Jupiter, built in 200 B.C. With a flick of your wrist you save the data and, school assignment complete, you step out of your Cocoon and back into your living room. That’s one possible application of the pod as imagined by its creators. When complete, the Immersive Cocoon will be a sleek and shiny man-sized dome. Step inside, and you’ll be enveloped by a 360-degree display screen and full surround sound. When the software boots up, instead of using a joystick or mouse to navigate the screens, motion-tracking cameras will follow the movement of your arms, legs, and face, and a motion-sensitive platform will detect if you’re walking or jumping. "You’ve got display, sound and interaction all combined to create this fully immersed digital experience," explains Tino Schaedler, the architect-turned-film designer who is one third of NAU. "It is completely different from me sitting in front of a screen, looking at a little picture and typing something in–almost like the experience is reduced to my brain and my fingers. In the Cocoon, we have the whole body immersed inside."

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