Crewmembers could also learn by using simulations to acquire new skills or execute training drills. They could simulate surgery, flight, and engine repairs in a truly realistic environment.
The holodeck is still science fiction, but last year researchers took the first, confident steps towards its realisation with the Coherent project. This EU-funded research project, developed a commercial, true 3-D display that could one day be called Holodeck version 1.0. It is called HoloVizio.Innovation intensive
"The aim of the COHERENT project was to create a new networked holographic audio-visual platform to support real-time collaborative 3-D interaction between geographically distributed teams," explains Akos Demeter, spokesperson for the project.
Two applications drove the design of the basic networked audiovisual components – a collaborative visualisation system for the medical sector and a collaborative design review system for the automotive industry.
The researchers based the display component on innovative holographic techniques that can present, at natural human interaction scale, realistic animated 3-D images simultaneously to an unlimited number of freely moving viewers.
The COMEDIA application, for example, uses raw data from medical imaging devices to create 3-D models of anatomy. The development, led by Coherent partner CRS4 Visual Computing, demonstrated the system to 50 clinicians in Italy.
"The strength of the COMEDIA system is related to the collaboration, discussion and evaluation of clinical cases, since it provides users with an immediate 3-D understanding of the anatomy shown," explains Demeter.
COMEDIA led to the 'Holo-Heart' series of seminars last year.Art's hidden secrets
It is impossible to see this by standing in front of the statue, because of its height and the position of the left forearm. But it becomes clear when viewed through the COHERENT system, and theorists posit that Michelangelo wanted to present two different faces of the same character.
Coherent also led to the development of the COLLAUDA application for collaborative automotive design. The application, developed with CS Systemes d’Information and Peugeot in France, led to a series of demonstrations to potential end users.
The demonstration led to a new project collaboration, named ARIVA, which starts in June 2008.Oil exploration
In all, the team developed useful applications for a leading edge, emergent technology, explored excellent commercial opportunities and perfected holographic and allied systems for real-world use. The research also stimulated enormous interest in the area and prompted a wave of activity in the sector. But history, perhaps, will remember the Coherent project as the precursor to a real world holodeck.
The project received funding from the EU's Sixth Framework Programme for research.
Ahmed ElAmin | alfa
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