Indistinct Mumblings of an Unsound Mind

So, awhile back I had this idea to make a Holodeck. I published it on my old site, but the entire site had an unfortunate accident and died a horrible, fiery death.

Anyway, the idea was to create a room where all the walls, the floor, the ceiling, and the doors were passive 3d displays. Then, don a pair of contacts that had been created using a 3d polarization filter. Tada. Everything in the room displays in 3d. You are immersed in a 3d environment.

Then, I thought – why stop there. Load up the room with 3 cameras per wall, and make it interactive. It could track your movement with two cameras in the brighter environment, and the third camera would be IR only, so the darker ones wouldn’t pose an issue either. Walking, running, jumping, throwing emulated objects, playing VR baseball: all possible now.

Having played the X-box Kinect, I realized this didn’t really allow much room for finite movements, so I added one more idea: paint your fingernails using IR-reflective nail polish. Then dedicate 3-5 separate cameras to focus exclusively on the tracking the position of your fingers for other movements, like grasping, writing, typing, playing instruments, etc. Have a completely separate computer system allocated for processing those movements alone, then integrating them via bridging.

Everything is within the grasp of current technology, just like all my other ideas. (Which reminds me, I need to get those added in here some day.)

However, the major problem with this was walls. No matter how glorious the display might be, you’d still end up running into it. Being practical, I thought about the use of omni-directional treadmills, cybercarpet, and the likes. They were all mechanical solutions, and each posed a number of problems. The treadmills are loud, and large, and multiple people can’t use it at the same time unless they’re all walking the same direction, at the same rate. Cybercarpeting hasn’t been well-evaluated, and tends to fall apart under general use. Also, if one person were to stop while the others kept going, there was the serious danger of them getting injured. So I put the idea in my Not quite ready yet pile.

As I was showering this morning, the solution came to me. (Doesn’t it seem that all good solutions come to you in the shower? I swear, I’ve cured cancer innumerable times only to forget it by the time I’ve washed the shampoo out of my hair.) Instead of a mechanical solution, why not a software solution?

So, the problem is walking distances? Let’s make all distances curve. By displaying an environment that moves slightly faster on one side than the other, the human mind will perceive that it is walking in a curve and unconsciously correct for it. The end effect will be that it looks like one is walking straight, but is actually walking in circles around the room.

So, now that this is resolved, I would like to add that atomizers would be handy to create the illusion of smell and perhaps find someone who wishes to design it.