Rayva, the purveyor of turnkey home theaters that can be installed by integration pros in just a couple of days, is taking the same concept to the wellness realm. Instead of escaping reality through cinema-quality video and surround sound, users will be able to escape the stifling indoors with an immersion in nature … a simulated version of nature, to be sure, but a hyper-realistic version that mimics the sounds, sights, and other stimuli found in the great outdoors.
Rayva knows a thing or two about realism. The company principals are famous for engineering spaces and systems that put the audience smack in the middle of intergalactic wars, underwater fairy tails, and live concerts.
Now they turn their attention to forests and streams and sunsets — natural elements that human beings so desperately crave. We are biophilic creatures (biophilia primer below); our DNA is hard-coded for outdoor living after millions of years of evolution, even though we spend 90% of our time indoors. Biologically, we miss the sounds, smells, visuals, air conditions, motion, lighting transitions and other stimuli from nature.
Without these cues, humans are lost … and sick … and getting sicker in their stale, artificial work/home/play environments that confound human chemistry.
Research tells us rather convincingly that if you can’t revel in the real outdoors, you can enjoy similar health-and-wellness benefits by experiencing fake nature, even for short periods of time. Circadian lighting that mimics the sun’s natural characteristics, the sounds of streams, smells of a forest, images of trees and clouds, and fluctuations in climate and airflow can all trick our brains and biology into believing we’re outside in the fresh air.
Rayva Discovers, Embraces Biophilia with Wellness Spaces
Several months ago, Rayva latched onto biophilia and wellness, and set about designing Rayva Wellness Rooms that would be as turnkey as the theaters it’s famous for. They called these spaces “Outdoor Simulators” when they introduced the concept at CEDIA Expo in September.
The company has come a long way since then.
At the recent Azione fall conference, we caught up with Rayva president George Walter, who says the company is making great progress with its wellness product – element by element, and as a holistic experience.
Isolating the room is important, Walter says. Acoustical comfort is a key tenet of biophilic design. Rayva will use a “good neutral color” as a backdrop for the Zen experience – unlike the sometimes-vivid themes offered in Rayva theaters.
Walter says immersive sound will be incorporated into the outdoor simulators – which is nothing new for a company that thrives on multichannel, object-oriented surround sound. We can expect audio to envelop the user as it would in a forest or riverbed.
Likewise for visual effects, which will shroud the space with nature or other soothing images, according to Walters: “You’re not watching content. Content is part of the environment.”
Circadian lighting in the wellness rooms will emulate the real stuff found outdoors at any given time. Walter envisions LEDs positioned at different levels in the space, activated to reflect a time of day – sunrise, sunset, or somewhere in between.
“You could have higher LEDs, like (audio) height channels,” Walter says.
Rayva uses Converging Systems for its precision lighting controls. As it happens, the lighting company also powered Elan’s “color picker” demo at CEDIA Expo. Elan, as part of Nortek Security & Control, is also an Azione partner.
Finally, Rayva is working on the ultimate hands-free, do-nothing approach to activating a wellness room, shunning the idea of summoning a scene via voice or touch.
“If you’re supposed to be going into the outdoors,” Walter says, “nature should just happen.”
And by the Way, Wellness Rooms Make Great Home Theaters
Walter foresees homeowners combining both wellness and home theater into a single dedicated room in its “virtual outdoor simulators.” But how will that work spatially?
“We can do that by using flexible home theater seating that can easily move out of the way to open up the room for meditation, relaxation, yoga and other wellness pursuits,” he says.
Rayva has two- and four-seat combinations that can be easily rolled aside. “This also allows integrators and homeowners to focus on utilizing smaller rooms for wellness and home theater than they otherwise would have.”
Rayva’s current solutions for dedicated home theaters include 12 different design themes and a variety of product combinations ranging from $55,000 to $350,000.
Walter says Rayva’s Wellness Rooms are six months away from actually being available on the market.
A BIOPHILIA PRIMER
After hundreds of thousands of years of human evolution, every fiber of our being is hardwired for outdoor living. That’s biophilia — our innate, inescapable connection to nature. Human chemistry today is stuck in the stone age, when our ancestors slept under the stars, hunted and gathered in the sun, fought predators during the day, and repeated work/sleep routines every 24 hours — or one complete day/night (diurnal) cycle. Today we still have the same DNA, optimized for living outdoors virtually 100% of the time, even though we now spend 90% of our time indoors. Biophilic design aims to bring nature indoors, either with real or simulated sounds, visuals, smells, lighting, air and water conditions, and other stimuli that human biology remembers from so many millennia living outdoors.
CE Pro’s Jason Knott contributed to this article