The Weekly Geek: Microsoft’s Holodeck


If you ask any good geek what amazing futuristic gadget she’d like, and the answer will likely be “a working holodeck.” The ultimate videogame/reality simulator/fantasy creator was a staple of the Star Trek world, where everything from Sherlock Holmes stories to bizarre sexual fantasies could be played out (and lived in), and the fine folks at Microsoft are actually working on one.

Well, they are working on something similar, anyway. In a video posted to The Verge blog, staffers from the site took a tour of Microsoft’s Edison lab, where crazy new technology is being developed, like the Kinect Fusion and Lightspace:

Kinect Fusion is a system that uses the Kinect’s sensors to create an interactive, real-time 3D model of the environment — the demonstration shows virtual balls bouncing around on the objects captured and rendered directly from the real world.

Lightspace works in the opposite direction: with a combination of depth cameras and projectors, it can create linked interactive screens on different surfaces. In the video, principal researcher Andy Wilson demonstrates how objects projected on a table can be moved around, re-sized, and even carried to another display using his hands.

We all love gadgets, of course, but lets dream for a moment: Hw wonderful would it be to have something like an actual holodeck? I have no idea how any work would ever get done if you could play with one of those puppies.

Heck, I’m still enamored with my Kinect (mostly since I basically only play the Dance Central games on it).

Even cooler is the oh-so-holodeck-esque “magic wall” demonstrated in this Verge video.

I think the real question here is how soon will this stuff be available for public consumption, and when can I create a fantasy Counselor Troi sequence with it?

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