“Window To The World” Brings Far-Off Places To Your Home

A world map with a small magetic plane sitting on Japan

For those who love travelling around the world, life hasn’t been great for the past two years. World-wide lockdowns and travel restrictions have kept many people stuck inside their own homes when they would rather be jetting off to distant cities. If you’re one of those bothered by Wanderlust, [Alex Shakespeare] might have a solution for you: a window that shows a live image from another location around the world.

A window showing a live webcam feed
The Window, showing a live feed from Tokyo.

To make the experience as lifelike as possible, [Alex] used an actual window in his London home and mounted a large TV behind it. A wall-mounted map enables him to choose any of five locations by moving a little magnetic plane across the map. LEDs show the available spots, while magnetometers detect the motion of the aircraft. An ESP8266 then instructs a media server to connect to the appropriate livestream, which is subsequently displayed on the TV screen.

All of this is clever enough already, but [Alex] decided to go one step further and added a thermal sensor that detects the location of any persons standing near the display and shifts the image a little when they move. This simulates the perspective of looking out a real window, and should give the image a more life-like quality than if it were simply static.

The whole design is available on [Alex]’s GitHub page, ready to be replicated by anyone who wants to look out over some exotic location. If, instead, you want a way to reminisce about the places you’ve visited in the past, check out this cool souvenir globe. We’ve also seen a neat Google Maps based one a few years back.

Thanks to [Itay] for the tip.

13 thoughts on ““Window To The World” Brings Far-Off Places To Your Home

  1. This is a wonderful project, IMHO. Kudos. 🙂

    I must admit, though, the use of magneto meters (?) did confuse the hell out of me for a moment.
    Not in a bad way, though, it just was mindblowing to me. Too advanced or sophisticated, if you will.

    Because, I was assuming reed relays. My 90s era tinkerer’s mind would have done this task with some reed relays and pull-up/pull-down resistors that connect to some of the microcontroller’s free pins each.

    Anyway, this is not meant as a critique. These sensors here are fine. I just didn’t expect them.

  2. This reminds me…
    Back during the wall poster craze of the 1970s, there was set of 3 posters showing the same window,
    One poster showed an underwater scene with a SCUBA diver,
    Another showed a jet aircraft heading straight for the window,
    and the 3rd, showed another window into a room with a woman disrobing.
    (My dad would’ve killed me if I’d bought that one!)

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