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Using multimedia technology to help combat the negative effects of protective isolation on patients: the Open Window project--an engineering challenge.The Open Window project was established with the aim of creating a "virtual window" for each patient who is confined to protective isolation due to treatment for illness. This virtual window as developed provides a range of media or experiences. This paper describes the approach taken to the system design and discusses initial experiences with implementing such a system in a critical care setting. The system design was predicated on two guiding principles. Firstly it should be intuitive to use and the technology used to create the virtual window hidden from patient view. Secondly the system must be able to be installed at the point of care in a way that delivers the experience under the patient's control, without compromising the function or safety of the clinical environment. Patient acceptance of the system is being measured as part of an on-going trial and at this interim phase of data analysis 100% (n=55) of participants in the intervention group have reported that the technology was easy to use. We conclude that the system as designed and installed is an effective, robust and reliable system upon which to base a multimedia interventions in a critical care room.