This is a guest post co-written with Nathaniel Epstein-Toney.
SpongeBob and Patrick’s episode “Idiot Box” (2002) brillinatly portrayed imagination games inside a cardboard box. Could it (Did it?) inspire the 3D virtual box or the 3D virtual CAVE?
We believe it could have. No, SpongeBob and Patrick are not scientists. But their playfulness and imagination is the very essence of scientific discoveries. If you have not experienced a 3D virtual box or a 3D CAVE, in which you are fully immersed in a 3D environment, a reminder of this wonderful episode may give you an idea:
SpongeBob and Patrick order a giant Television set just so that they can play in the box. They let Squidward have the TV, but when Squidward tells them their idea to play in the box is stupid, SpongeBob and Patrick deny this saying that imagination is better than Television. Squidward when he begins to leave begins to hear sound effects from the box as SpongeBob and Patrick play their “Imagination” games. Squidward asks them how is noise being made, but they deny being aware of this. They add that it is caused by “Imagination.” Squidward begins to suspect later that they are using a tape recorder instead of their imaginations and so he comes into the box to find out what the sounds are caused by, but when he, Patrick, and SponeBob imagine “Robot-Pirate Island” the sounds are not heard. Squidward still believes that there is a tape recorder or anything that makes sound and so he sneaks into the box at night and imagines himself as a race car driver and he hears the sounds, but a garbage truck confuses the box to be garbage and it takes it to the dump with Squidward inside. In an epilogue, SpongeBob and Patrick go outside the next day to find their box gone, and so they decide to go to visit Squidward instead.