A new frontier in virtual reality? Microsoft patents hints at Star Trek-like holodeck

microsoft patent hints at star trek like holodeck
Science fiction quite often predicts future technology. The very first science fiction movie, 1902’s A Trip to the Moon, predicted the moon landing 67 years later, and it’s also true of Star Trek, the best-known science fiction TV show. Star Trek has augured a host of gadgets that have already seen the light of day, like cell phones and “tricorder”-like devices .

One of Star Trek’s most well-known technologies is the holodeck, an enclosed room on starships where the computer projects entire worlds in seamless virtual reality that are fully interactive. While VR and augmented reality (AR) systems are in the works on a limited scale, Microsoft has applied for a patent to bring the Star Trek holodeck that much closer to reality, as MSPU reports.

The crux of the patent, filed on June 17, 2015, and published on December 22, 2016, focuses on overcoming one of the limitations of Microsoft’s own HoloLens technology, namely its limited field of view (FOV). The patent technology would not overcome that limitation directly. Rather, it would project images onto surrounding objects in a room to extend the FOV of a head-mounted display (HMD) like HoloLens.

microsoft patent hints at star trek like holodeck 1

The holodeck-like room would be festooned with projectors, some of them with 3D technology, that would continuously work with the display to create a much larger FOV. As the patent states, “Different instances of the complementary computer-generated content can enhance each other. The complementary computer-generated content can extend a FOV, change the appearance of the real world scene (e.g., a room), mask objects in the real world scene, induce apparent motion, and/or display both public and private content, among other capabilities.”

Microsoft Research has been working on this technology in the real world, and the team created a video demonstrating how the patent technology might work. The entire solution would include eye-tracking sensors, along with the projectors, to make for a much more realistic virtual world.

As with all patents, there’s no guarantee that this one will ever see the light of day. It’s far more likely that certain aspects of the technology will be incorporated in real-world products. However, as VR and AR technology continues to progress, it’s likely that one day in the future we’ll be fighting Klingons in our own holodecks, and we’ll once again perhaps have Star Trek to thank for the inspiration.

Computing

Stay connected with the Surface Go LTE Advanced, coming November 20 for $679

The new Surface Go LTE Advanced model delivers benefits for anyone who is looking to enjoy LTE coverage and stay connected on Windows 10 when traveling on the road or away from home.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (November 2018)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Gaming

Immerse yourself in a new universe with these incredible PSVR games

The PSVR has surpassed expectations and along with it comes an incredible catalog of games. There's plenty of amazing experiences to be had so we've put together a list of the best PSVR games available today.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Mobile

On a budget? We found the best affordable smartphones you can buy

Here are the best cheap phones for anyone working with a tight budget, whether you're a fan of stock Android or marathon battery life. Find out what you can get for under $500 or far, far less as we round up the best budget smartphones.
Deals

Black Friday 2018: The best deals so far

Black Friday is the biggest shopping holiday of the year, and it will be here before you know it. If you can't wait until November 23 to start formulating a shopping plan, we've got you covered.
Computing

Cloudflare’s privacy-enhancing 1.1.1.1 DNS service comes to iOS and Android

Cloudflare's 1.1.1.1 DNS resolver service has been ported to mobile devices, and now anyone with an Android or iOS device can download it for free to take advantage of its speed and privacy-boosting features.
Gaming

The plug-and-play PC Classic joins the retro console bandwagon

Gaming company Unit-e is creating the PC Classic, a plug-and-play retro console that will come bundled with around 30 of the best DOS games. The system will support gamepads and keyboard setups.
Computing

Is your PC slow? Here's how to restore Windows 10 to factory settings

Computers rarely work as well after they've accumulated files and misconfigured settings. Thankfully, with this guide, you'll be able to restore your PC to its original state by learning how to factory reset Windows.
Computing

Best Buy’s pre-Black Friday deal takes $330 off the 2017 Surface Pro bundle

If you don't need the latest Surface Pro, Best Buy has a heavily discounted rendition of the 2017 model available in its pre-Black Friday sale. For just $1,000, you can get the tablet with a Core i5 CPU.
Computing

If you've lost a software key, these handy tools can find it for you

Missing product keys getting you down? We've chosen some of the best software license and product key finders in existence, so you can locate and document your precious keys on your Windows or MacOS machine.
Computing

Mozilla’s built-in price-tracking extension makes it easy to shop with Firefox

Mozilla has heard those worries about Black Friday shopping, and is now introducing a new set of experimental extensions which aim to make it easier to find the best deals online.
Computing

Buying a laptop on Black Friday? Don't make one of these rookie mistakes

Shopping for a laptop on Black Friday can win you some excellent deals, but you should also avoid making common mistakes. Check out what to avoid when buying a laptop for Black Friday and what danger signs to be wary of.
Computing

The Mac mini's price jump has crept into iMac territory. How do they compare?

Apple announced a long-awaited update to the Mac mini. Thanks to the updated specs and increase in price, it's begun to creep up to the base model iMac. In this guide, we now put up the specs on the newest refreshed Mac mini against the…