The Holodeck has long been a science fiction dream ever since its first appearance in the beloved series, Star Trek. Some of the concepts behind it have been the inspiration to many of the games and communication software we see today. The holodeck is described as a ‘simulated reality facility’ powered by holographic projectors that recreate an entire virtual environment. The projectors produce what is called “hard light.” This gives the users the capability to physically interact with the programs and its characters within the holodeck.
Now recreating a fully functional Holodeck is insanely difficult and will take many years of technological advancement to pull off. But, the goal shouldn’t be to recreate the holodeck but instead to simulate one.
The goal shouldn’t be to recreate the holodeck but instead to simulate one.
The good news is we now have the technology to do just that. So instead of building a simulated reality facility we have mixed reality headsets that can be used anywhere. Furthermore, an alternative to hard light is a light field display chip which can do everything but the atoms (Soft Light). Combined with SLAM tracking and Depth mapping, 3D content can accurately fill the Users environment. Using this technology here are some concepts that can be applied.
Imagine your family room becoming a webpage that is no longer confined to a specific screen size. This is an example website that takes advantage of the rooms space to display content.
Don’t think of the Holodeck as a single application that you open up. Think of it more of like a web browser. It should surround you at all times as where you can do multiple things within in it. Every room you enter is going to be a mixed reality holodeck. Matter of fact your whole house or office will become a digital ecosystem for content to run free.
Another concept of a mixed reality holodeck is room teleportation. Using full occlusion masking, the physical view of the world from a window can be interchanged with a digital one. Imagine being able to pick a location on Google Earth, then have that view from your window. The experience would be so surreal your family room could be compared to flying around in the TARDIS from Doctor Who.
Tangible 3D- Haptic Feedback
Haptic feedback gloves will create the first interactive tactile true-3D display. The haptic glove will allow users to reach into to touch virtual objects, and even feel gradients receiving haptic feedback as the hands penetrate into virtual objects. Just as the mouse is essential for operating a computer, haptic gloves will become essential to mixed reality.