Star Trek‘s Holodeck is the pinnacle of immersive technology. The fictional tech can create a full world based on a short description and then use holograms and other technologies to make a world you truly interact with.
We’re far, far away from having a real-life version of the Star Trek tech. However, using AI, a “barebones Holodeck” has been created to show how we could, one day, get there.
AI will be key to the Holodeck
Posted on Twitter by Jasmine Roberts, a primitive version of the Star Trek wonder-tech was shown. While the example seems incredibly basic, the underlying tech behind it is mind-blowing.
Powered by the Unity game engine, the Holodeck is represented by a 3D environment. In the app, the user simply states what they want to be generated; for example, a lawn chair.
Using artificial intelligence, this “barebones Holodeck” generates a unique asset based on that prompt. Unlike art generators like Midjourney or Stable Diffusion, these objects are generated in full 3D.
After each object is generated, the user can also use phrases to move them in the environment. For example, saying “rotate” turns the item 45 degrees. However, in the future, this could be a VR environment that you can manipulate.
When will we get the real thing?
As Roberts said, this version of the still-impossible Holodeck is a barebones representation of that idea. Not only are we decades away from the instant lifelike world generation of that concept, but real holograms are still not possible.
For this century, any representation of this concept will be tied to virtual or augmented reality technology instead of holograms. However, that’s still a time way to interact with full 3D worlds, especially if they’re tailored to your input.
This type of instant 3D generation is also being chased by companies such as Meta. In an admittedly more impressive demo, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg showed the technology creating a desert island with Horizon Worlds.
The difference between this tech and the Holodeck is the fact that the Star Trek tech also creates full storylines to play through. Currently, these barebones versions offer just visuals without anything to play through. That’s the next step.