German scientists at the Max-Planch-Institute have created a way for us to experience the holodeck from Star Trek by using the wireless Oculus Rift. With this technology, the researchers were able to simulate travelling to different places around the world. It's not quite as sophisticated as the Star Trek holodeck, but the results are impressive.
Researchers placed several cameras throughout a 9.7 square-meter room. To experience the holodeck, test subjects had to wear markers that were able to track their position in the room to the nearest millimeter. The room had enough space for the subjects to wander around, and since the Oculus Rift is wireless, there wasn’t a hindrance from moving freely.
Captain Picard gets excited about the new holodeck
The markers used for the project are similar to those that are used in movies and games for motion capture purposes. The user is then given a virtual world where they can wander around. Unlike the Star Trek holodeck this technology does not yet allow users to interact with the virtual environment.
One of the participants in the research said, “I got to try out the holodeck and the experience was crazy, really realistic.”
Scientists explain how the holodeck technology works
Since the space was limited, scientists had to improvise in order to give the illusion of a larger environment. When the user walks two feet, it will register as four feet in the virtual world. Researchers are also determining whether changing the user’s avatar size will make it appear as if the virtual world is larger.
The holodeck experience does have its drawbacks. Users tend to become nauseous once they leave the virtual space, but the scientists are working to correct that problem. “I have to say I felt a little nauseous after I got a bit cocky in there; generally though you feel like you are there,” said one participant.
The holodeck technology is still in its initial stages. There are no reports of it being available to the public anytime soon. However, knowing that there might be a possibility to experience a real holodeck is delightful, especially for Star Trek fans.
Holodeck scene from Star Trek TV series
Image via YouTube