The California NanoSystems Institute at UC Santa Barabara has been researching interactive environments for research and artistic expression since 1997. Their efforts have yielded the Allosphere, a 30-foot diameter sphere built inside a three-story cube. The Allosphere was built to be anechoic, minimizes all background noise and light-interference, and contains thousands of speakers to create an immersive interactive experience.
The Allophere’s project website speculates some of the possible uses for such technology:
Scientifically, it is an instrument for gaining insight and developing bodily intuition about environments into which the body cannot venture: abstract, higher-dimensional information spaces, the worlds of the very small or very large, and the realms of the very fast or very slow, in fields ranging from nanotechnology to theoretical physics, from proteomics to cosmology, from neurophysiology to the spaces of consciousness, and from new materials to new media.
Artistically, the AlloSphere is an instrument for the creation and performance of avant-garde new works and the development of entirely new modes and genres of expression and forms of immersion-based entertainment, fusing future art, architecture, music, media, games, cinema, and more.
The project, which recalls Cave Writing project at Brown, is ongoing; designer Professor JoAnn Kuchera-Morin and her colleagues are working on the computing platform and interactive display portions of the sphere.