Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Star Trek's Holodeck May Indeed Be in our Future

If you've watched Star Trek, you're probably aware of the holodeck. It's like one big simulated reality room where you can interact with "programmed world". It'd be like living in your tv and interacting with your favourite characters. You become part of that story. That world.

I'm not sure about you, but I've been waiting for the day when a holodeck-like virtual reality system was created. Just think what you could do...you could travel the world without ever having to leave your livingroom! Ok, I'd still want to go, but it'd still be pretty cool. It could be a very cool way for authors to learn about a new subject they're writing about.

Well a a holodeck may not be too far off. A couple of companies in Britain have started to work on something similar using a bunch of projectors, Sony Move controllers, and some creative visual tricks. What they do is project the images on the walls in a way to adjust to the geometry of the objects in the room (such as the couch in the video or the box), creating the illusion that the surface itself has changed. The controllers are attached to the camera and the position is fed back to the projectors in real time, allowing the projectors to adjust for the distortion of the image. This lets the camera move around, adding to the three-dimensional effect.

Sony Europe, Studio Output and Marshmallow Laser Feast shot three web videos to highlight the immersiveness of movies rented or purchased from the PlayStation Store. In the videos, all were made with just one take and no postproduction work. The effects look apparently nearly as good (and cheaper) and could even be used to replace the CGI technology used in the film industry that created Avatar.

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