Rod Roddenberry (son of the late Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry) has partnered with cloud-based graphics company OTOY and holographic display startup Light Field Lab to build a real-life version of Star Trek’s “Holodeck.”
Roddenberry believes that advanced holographic technology exists today that will enable the creation of a Holodeck, as depicted on the TV show. Originally seen on Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Holodeck is a science fictional depiction of advanced virtual reality. Scenarios can be programmed into a computer and then “created” in a physical space. Holodeck users are able to see, touch and interact with holographic characters, objects, and environments.
Is it really possible?
Star Trek’s holodeck uses fictional transporter technology to physically transform matter into any object imaginable, including holographic humans and other physical objects. Such technology could enable the creation of an infinite number of interactive scenarios. On the TV show, the holodeck was used for recreation by the Enterprise crew, who would participate in games or adventures in various settings from literature, history, or fantasy. It’s the ultimate depiction of virtual reality. But it is possible in real life?
Although Roddenberry’s plans are ambitious, in practical terms the technology would only enable visual elements using large holographic display panels. It’s doubtful if any tactile component of these holograms would be possible, since the re-creation of physical matter is only possible in the realm of science fiction.
No headset required
According to a press release on October 22nd, the Holodeck will not require a VR headset or other device to be worn by users. It will make use of Light Field Lab’s “revolutionary headgear-free holographic displays and OTOY’s ORBX Technology, the industry’s first open source and royalty free format for rendering media and real time graphics on Light Field Lab’s holographic display panels.”
Light Field Lab’s initial prototype modules will scale to form larger holographic video walls with hundreds of gigapixels of light field resolution setting the standard for fully immersive holographic experiences. OTOY’s blockchain GPU compute network (RNDR) will provide the scale to make rendering holographic content for these experiences widely available for the first time. Light Field Lab started demonstrating holographic prototypes with OTOY-rendered content earlier this year to leading industry stakeholders including Endeavor, Roddenberry Entertainment and Richard Kerris, former CTO of Lucasfilm and Advisor to OTOY.
Realizing Gene Roddenberry’s dream
Rod Roddenberry is the CEO of Roddenberry Entertainment (which his father started in 1967). His is currently working with Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel to develop content for the Holodeck.
“The concept of the Holodeck was extremely important to my father as well as the Star Trek Universe,” said Rod Roddenberry about his late father, Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek. “I want to see Star Trek’s technologies made real, and for the very first time, now believe that a real Holodeck is no longer limited to science fiction. Although it’s early days, my father would be beyond excited to know his vision is coming into reality thanks to OTOY’s trailblazing light field rendering, and the revolutionary holographic display systems created at Light Field Lab.”
Image credit: Future vision concept art of room scale holographic display from Light Field Lab, Inc.