ēSea™, A Digital Cinema Underwater Experience: Biophilic Immersion for Specialty Interiors

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The Sky Factory has launched the ēSea, a Digital Cinema Underwater Experience

ēSea, much more than a virtual aquarium, is designed as an illusory window into much larger underwater environments.

With the ēSea, viewers peer into an underwater landscape that extends into the wall like it does in large-scale aquariums.

The Sky Factory has launched the ēSea, a Digital Cinema Underwater Experience, designed to provide the visually soothing, therapeutic benefits of live aquariums—restoring emotional balance, reducing anxiety, and lowering blood pressure—while submerging the observer in a deeper experience, one that enlivens our innate, genetic-based need to bond with living systems by bringing the illusory depth of the sea and other bodies of water, inside.

Research indicates that restorative environments are defined by a nature connection. Due to its exotic ecosystem, marine life in particular exerts an alluring hold on our collective imagination.

Maintaining a live aquarium is however a challenge for highly regulated indoor environments. With ēSea it is possible to experience the therapeutic and healing qualities of nature’s motion in controlled spaces. And in order to retain the spontaneity of live organisms in a virtual environment, ēSea’s visual content is designed as a captivating illusion.

“There are many regulated environments in healthcare, senior living, and other institutional as well as commercial environments where setting up a live aquarium is both a health hazard and a costly feature to maintain,” says Skye Witherspoon, CEO of The Sky Factory.

“However, when the installation is part and parcel of the interior envelope, the viewer’s perception of the content is dramatically different. It’s not like watching television, where the medium is a separate object in the room. With the ēSea, viewers peer into an underwater landscape that extends into the wall like it does in large-scale aquariums.”

“First, we start by capturing the motion of life itself,” says Bill Witherspoon, the Sky Factory’s founder. “It is our experience that nature is always on the move.

“Whether we experience it in the soothing movement of clouds, the fluttering of leaves or the gentle ebb and flow of water, above or below the surface, this movement is called ‘Heraclitean motion’—a gentle pattern of movement that is random, but cyclical—always changing, yet remaining peacefully familiar.

“This type of motion is a universal phenomenon and that is why it rekindles our innate, genetic-based need to bond with nature—called biophilia—triggering an automatic 'relaxation response' in the physiology,” explains the founder.

The ēSea displays the dynamic beauty of marine life—real-time moving images—utilizing a sophisticated RED Digital Cinema™ camera. Capturing horizontally-composed nature footage in UltraHD, the ēSea delivers a rich sensory experience in long, unedited sequences of underwater life. This high-tech illusion features a wall-mounted professional-grade LED edge-lit High Definition LCD screen embedded in a 16-gauge steel mounting pan and framed as an illusory window.

The 46” ēSea creates a dramatic focal point that deepens biophilic engagement at nearly one third the cost of the setup and maintenance of a comparable 90-gallon saltwater aquarium measuring about 4 feet long and 18 inches deep. Unlike a real saltwater fish tank this size, which would weigh over 1,000 pounds, and cost over $17,334 to set up and another $2,700 per year to maintain*, the ēSea is an easy plug-and-play system that is basically maintenance-free.

The ēSea comes with five underwater scenes, featuring everything from deep sea nettle jellyfish to a shimmering shark reef, an aqua-blue Amazonian river to a fun underwater nook with clown fish and anemones, all recorded in UltraHD and mastered and played back in high bit rate full HD, rendering it beyond Blu-ray quality.

The ēSea is built for years of 24/7 operation featuring industrial-strength, premium-grade panels with additional thermal protection, internal temperature sensors with self-diagnostics, and quiet fan-based technology.

This plug-and-play underwater display system features an Integrated Video Playback system and a simple eight-button wall-mounted controller. Every unit has over 16 hours of video capacity allowing clients to purchase new scenes—as they become available—with the ēSea’s simple plug-and-play module.

“The ēSea was inspired by Sky Factory’s core mission to sustain and enrich life,” says Radim Schreiber, an award-winning photographer and videographer at the Sky Factory. “Coral reefs, and other unique underwater habitats, are disappearing due to unregulated human activity. We hope that by bringing the beauty and amazing creatures that live undersea, we can inspire people to protect these precious environments and realize that the ocean’s ecosystems are irreplaceable.”

*Cost figures taken from an independent analysis by Bloomberg News (8/20/2012)

About The Sky Factory
The Sky Factory, LC is a unique fine art and technology company based in Fairfield, Iowa, USA. Founded in 2002, the company creates realistic Illusions of Nature™ - virtual skylights and windows - that transform interior spaces. Sky Factory’s new digital cinema product line features UltraHD motion and sound displayed on professional-grade LED edge-lit HD LCD monitors. For more information and a complete list of International Partners, visit http://www.SkyFactory.com.

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David A. Navarrete
The Sky Factory
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