The First Steps to the Holodeck

Jon Sanderson | 22 Jan 2008 13:00
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So if you nail down the visuals and the audio, how about something like smell? The TriSenx Scent Dome was created to produce and sell smelling samples over the internet. It's kind of silly, but at the same time, so much of our higher brain functions come from our sense of smell that to exclude it would simply be an oversight. Of course, this could lead to some incredibly disastrous experiments by game developers, if the technology was ever to be adopted, seeing as almost every game at one point or another has the obligatory sewer level, and as if it's bad enough that the gaming industry takes some hard knocks for allowing people to virtually kill someone, it'll definitely take some flak when some ingenious game designer starts putting in that fresh dead body stench. Hopefully this'll be an option you can turn off; maybe replace it with the smell of freshly baked cookies.

Speaking of funny technology, there is actually a pressure suit in the works. The idea is you put on a full body suit, and when you get touched it will be able to put pressure on the affected area. Let's put aside the obvious hilarious sexual situations inherent in such a technology (unlike a certain gaming magazine) and rather talk about it from the immersive standpoint. My immediate image is a bunch of nerdy types attempting to fit into one of these "one size fits all" things; I think we can all see the apparent difficulties here. Not to mention that it's really impossible to put on a full-length suit of any kind and not look like a twit. But these social and industry constraints aside, there's a lot value in this kind of suited technology. Imagine hiding from some kind of monster that's searching the area for you and suddenly feeling a hand on your shoulder. Games just can't do that right now.


The largest hurdle will probably end up being the social aspects of a real-life holodeck. If you thought people made fun of you for playing too many videogames now, imagine what they'll say when they see you suit up and step inside a man-sized videogaming pod.

As technology leaps forward every day, the doors to a completely immersive play experience fly open. While the Star Trek holodeck is probably a ways off, currently existing technology can get us pretty close. It's just a matter of whether or not the entertainment industry can make it affordable enough to be realistic. Then again, if you own a PS3, maybe you're already willing to drop exorbitant amounts of money on games.

The interesting thing is the holodeck is inevitable. Even now, we have the ability to build a rudimentary version of this wondrous technology, and it doesn't take too far a leap to see that this is where the gaming community wants to go. It might not be tomorrow, but someday soon we'll be capable of standing in different worlds while standing in our living rooms, and the only thing that will convince us we aren't where we think we are is our better judgment, and maybe the bag of chips we brought in with us.

Jon Sanderson is a Canadian based Actor/Writer who's interested in the artistic and social side of gaming. Relatively new to the industry (But not to its products) he's hoping to carve a name for himself in a way that won't kill too many people.

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