So, anyone fancy a go on a real-life holodeck? What are the real-world possibilities of us enjoying the kind of technology tantalisingly dangled before us in Star Trek?
As the latest Trek adventure Into Darkness hits cinema screens the world over, E&T magazine offers an intriguing analysis of the engineering potential available to us today, what the immediate future holds – and what currently holds us back.
This story is about how the building blocks already at our disposal could ultimately deliver extraordinarily immersive augmented reality environments. They will need to undergo a huge amount of refinement and expansion before we see the mooted innovation, if at all.
However, the idea is a pathfinder. As communicators gave us flip-phones and medical tricorders are reflected by wireless monitoring for e-health, this speculative corporate science project aims to tell us in a more immediate sense about where computing is going in the short term and what we should aim for in terms of both software and hardware architectures.
Enough caveats for yer? Great. Let’s reveal the target: it is the holodeck from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
For those of you unfamiliar with the show, the holodeck is a space on the USS Enterprise capable of faithfully reproducing just about any environment, and allowing any crew member to enter it, walk around it, and interact with it as though it were ‘real’. Think of it as cosplay to the nth degree. Want to relive a classic 40s detective novel? Done. Or captain an 18th Century ship-of-the-line. Made so.
The technological driver is the shift from homogeneous to heterogeneous processing.