“Mobile Workshop” was one of the world’s first networked CAVE environments. On the occasion of Siemens’ 150th anniversary celebration in Berlin, it provided a glimpse into the future of communications and work.
On October 13, 1997, the ATM link (34 Mb) between the Inter Communication Center in Berlin and the Ars Electronica Center went into operation. Visitors on-site in Berlin were positioned in front of an ImmersaDesk, those in Linz were in the CAVE. After a ride in a virtual elevator, they found themselves in front of virtual computer workstations. The virtual monitors displayed documentary material—showing, for example, the first telegraph line between London and Calcutta produced by Siemens. Integrated into each workstation was a “projection wall” that showed the workstation on the other end.
This “VR conference” made it possible to establish audio and VR contact between the two terminal sites. The application moved on via a teleporter into the actual laboratory in which a cell phone was to be assembled from its individual components. Visitors present at each of the terminal sites had the possibility of either changing the pattern of the components or varying their colors.
The Linz avatar handed the Berlin avatar the particular cell phone part, a pattern was agreed upon, and the Berlin avatar submerged the part in a corresponding receptacle.
After completion of the cell phone, both protagonists return to their workstations. Once they arrived there, the position at which the VR projection of the opposite terminal site had previously been shown then displayed a video projection—a live camera feed from the opposite terminal. The two cell phone designers then confronted one another via video.