The Virtual Cocoon: Why leave the house when you can put on a helmet and ‘go’ places, right?


This is the Virtual Cocoon, a British device that promises to allow “armchair travelers… hear the roar of lions on safari, smell the flowers of an Alpine meadow or feel the heat of the Caribbean sun on their face – all from the comfort of their sitting room.” Because that’s what we need, to discourage people from exploring the world beyond Facebook, YouTube and whatever junk is on their DVR.

As a technology, social issues aside, the device seems interesting, sure. Put on the helmet, and experience the sights and sounds of faraway lands, exotic cultures, etc. Perhaps even more interesting, the device could be used to explore past cultures and countries. Ancient Rome, San Francisco and Lisbon before the earthquakes and subsequent fires, etc. That, I’d be all over that.

The tiny LCDs and LEDs that power the device produce an image that’s said to be 10 times darker and 30 times brighter than conventional TV screens. The better to immerse you with, my dear!

I don’t know, as a pure technology, great. Hooray for the researchers at University of York. But you just know that, given time, it’ll be relegated to things like virtual tours of Ted’s Hat Museum and other complete wastes of time.

Technology, thumbs up. Predicted use of said technology, thumbs down.