In 1420, Venetian engineer Giovanni Fontana proposed an elaborate mechanical room he dubbed the Castellum Umbrarum, or "castle of shadows." Sound awesome? It is. In a recent paper, French professor Philippe Codognet described it as "a room with walls made of folded translucent parchments lighted from behind, creating therefore an environment of moving images," adding that "Fontana also designed some kind of magic lantern to project on walls life-size images of devils or beasts." Codognet deems it an early ancestor of the immserive VR rooms, like StarCAVE, that are used today. Whatever. Da Vinci probably had one as his guest room. [BLDG BLOG]