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Star Trek's Holodeck: From Science Fiction to a New Reality

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 Star Treks Holodeck: from science fiction to a new reality March 28, 2017 1.31am EDT William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) entering a Holodeck simulation.

Advances in artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, and computer graphics are converging to make the Holodeck featured on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" a practical reality.

Credit: Memory Alpha

The Holodeck featured on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" has inspired many researchers in artificial intelligence (AI), human-computer interaction, and computer graphics, and those fields are converging to make the Holodeck a practical reality, writes Fabio Zambetta, a senior lecturer at RMIT University in Australia.

Strides have been made with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), but the technology is limited by inherent restrictions in bulky tools, real-world engagement, and less-than-natural interfaces.

Meanwhile, progress in speech recognition, language translation, sensors, and information searching is being incorporated into hands-free or wearable user interfaces.

The primary tool for real-world Holodeck programs is AI embedded within virtual characters, although recent AI and machine-learning innovations have yet to become as sophisticated as those needed to enable Holodeck-quality AIs.

One forecast envisions current VR and AR advances facilitating the refined headset necessary for a Holodeck experience within the next five to 10 years.

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