Holodeck, a space in which a computer can create a virtual reality-like environment with holograms.
Where did you see?
at Star Trek: The Next Generation (And in the subsequent series of Star Trekuniverse) characters use Holodec as a place to experience virtual adventures. The possibilities seem endless: from an evening playing Sherlock Holmes in historical fictional London to a long walk through a real woodland.
How close are we?
Among the many technological tools that Star Trek Presenting to the viewer, the holodeck under the hood is one of the most intricate. To convincingly create the illusion of a historic city – including smoky cafes, crowded alleys and crowded streets – in a space of tens of square meters, you have to open the bag of technological tricks.
First of all, the environment should be able to move smoothly with you. For example, if you take a step up a staircase, what you see should move with you. After all, your real freedom of movement is limited: you will soon hit the ceiling. This moving should happen smoothly, otherwise you break the illusion at best, or your users get nauseous at worst.
Hence this environment should not only deceive your eyes. Your ears, hands and nose should also provide the illusion. For example, the holograms around you should be able to quickly transform from a hooded human skin with a hollow character shaking your hand, to a cold, damp, and slightly filthy 19th century alley wall, or a wooden table top with the grain structure you’re sitting on. default.
And it does all this without any additional accessories. In holodeck, you don’t have VR goggles on your head and no suit that can put pressure on your body, as in today’s most compelling virtual worlds. This happens with your unfiltered senses, in real life. The massive challenge of building such a seamless virtual environment is overwhelming to say the least.
However, scientists and engineers are already achieving some tentative successes. Take the research done in 2018 in the trade magazine Science It appeared, where researchers described how they can form a mass of light particles (photons). With some imagination, this is the first step towards a 3D image that can be touched.
Or look at the results that researchers from the University of Glasgow reported last year in the trade magazine advanced intelligent systems† In it, they demonstrated how to make people feel as if they were actually touching a hologram using small air blowers that precisely shoot and place air currents on the person’s hand. “Such tactile holograms are familiar territory to millions of people thanks to the role they play in the holodeck of Star TrekThis is how the university was made In her press release, About the research, the inspiration for the technology was clear.
It’s not a convincing simulation of human skin, let alone a virtual environment that moves with you. But it’s a start.
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