LOOK, Bill Gates’ House, The Future of Wall Art And Windows

LOOK is a new digital picture project that just launched on Kickstarter, kind of the next generation digital picture frame, but one that take into account the advancements that have gone on in the space.  I think this is a stepping stone into where we are going with is virtual windows to anyplace.  Let’s talk about LOOK and where I think this technology is going.

Bill Gates House

This goes back to Bill Gates massive mansion for me.  Years ago I had a chance to tour Bill’s house but because I’d thrown out my back I was unable to go, I was given a rain check but every time I asked to use it was given a kind but firm no.  One of my peers that was traveling with me and would have gone as well reminds me of this and I got a bit fixated on Bill’s house as a result. 

One of the more interesting features of this house was flat panel displays behind picture frames that would respond to a pin each guest wore to provide art that was consistent with their interests.  Even the local music would shift to the type of music they’d like to hear and I really wanted to see how that latter part worked without creating an annoying noise for everyone without forcing everyone to wear headphones.  

But this idea of having an art gallery that morphed for each user was a fascinating one for me.   We can spend a lot for artwork yet that artwork not only tends to age out as we change what is around it often doesn’t appeal to everyone and artwork is as much about pleasing your guests as it is about pleasing you.  With a display, particularly a high quality one, you can have an art solution that not only appeals to your family today, to tomorrow and uniquely shift to the interests your guests uniquely have. 


Digital frames started out with kind of a subset of this.  But we generally gave them to our aging parents or grandparents or put them on our desks to look at family pictures.  Ideally they’d be connected to an on-line service that allowed you to select what was shown from an easy to use web interface and they’d run without much oversight.   In practice they tended to be hard to keep connected, the web interfaces (if they existed) weren’t very easy to use, and often the firms providing them failed leaving the displays (initially costing $100s of dollars for a 10” product) collecting dust on a desk to table until someone thought to toss it out.   A lot has changed since then. 

Now Wi-Fi is more reliable, we can put PC level performance in to a cell phone sized device, and good flat panels have dropped dramatically in price.   The end result is the LOOK Digital Picture Frame which comes in 24” and 40” sizes, connects to a web service and provides an experience much closer to Bill Gate’s multi-million dollar solution.   You buy the picture frame, you subscribe to a service to populate it, and the end result is an ever changing piece of art that can reflect your unique tastes or the tastes of anyone programed for it.  This can range from professional art work to pictures of your kids, to vacations, to just showing what every you, or someone else, has posted to a social network.   (It could be an ever changing picture of what your kids are doing for instance.  Which, could be kind of frightening, depending what your kids are doing, come to think of it.)  

Windows Into Your Imagination:  The Future

I believe that in the future we won’t have Windows, we will have displays that look out into the views we would like to have.   Not only will this give us all access to almost impossible views (like images being streamed from Mars or being rendered from the World of Warcraft or Game of Thrones) but allow us to build far more secure homes that are less likely to be destroyed by the weather or broken into by crooks.   They’ll also be more energy efficient because windows not only provide security and safety issues they tend to leak heat.   I believe that as we move from 4K to 8K displays and they drop in price and grow in size we’ll realize that we don’t need to build traditionally and that no one has to have a room or an office without a view and you can always wake up to a sunrise but that sunrise could be from Saturn.  

Check out LOOK the new generation of Digital Picture Frames and imagine where this could end up.  Damn, now I want the 40” version of this product and now I just have to figure out where to put it where my wife won’t have a holy crap moment.