Okay, so I know that there have been many people working on holodeck-like inventions for quite a while. But none have been quite as cool as Google’s Liquid Galaxies, and I don’t remember hearing about any of the previous attempts being released as open-source. Yes – Google released their immersive environment tool as open source. You can read more about it here:
Of course, it is the design and software that is open-source, not the actual hardware itself. But it is an interesting start, nonetheless. Two things in the article gave me some ideas:
- You can hook up any where from two to “dozens” of screens potentially.
- You can add other virtual interfaces to the set-up. In other words, it is not just limited to Google Earth.
I wonder how long it will be before someone figures out a way to use Second Life with this? Anyways, here is my idea: First of all, you get a few dozen flat screen panels with little or not frame (kind of like they do in Sports Bars with nine screens showing four games) and put them together in a sphere shape with the screens facing inward. Probably with a few in the back on a hinge acting as a door in. Then you get an omnidirectional treadmill for a floor hooked up to the software in place of a joystick. Finally, add a few motion detection cameras at key points around the sphere and a wireless microphone. Maybe even add a glove interface of some kind for more detailed controls. Wire all of this to work together with virtual environment of your choice (Google Earth, Second Life, World of Warcraft, you name it) – and I think we have our first rudimentary holodeck. Maybe even someday use 3-D flat screens.
Probably pretty expensive to buy all this. Probably also a little tough to figure out how to get all those systems to work together. But I am sure it can be done. So who has a grant to try this out?
Matt is currently an Instructional Designer II at Orbis Education and a Part-Time Instructor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Previously he worked as a Learning Innovation Researcher with the UT Arlington LINK Research Lab. His work focuses on learning theory, Heutagogy, and learner agency. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, a Master of Education in Educational Technology from UT Brownsville, and a Bachelors of Science in Education from Baylor University. His research interests include instructional design, learning pathways, sociocultural theory, heutagogy, virtual reality, and open networked learning. He has a background in instructional design and teaching at both the secondary and university levels and has been an active blogger and conference presenter. He also enjoys networking and collaborative efforts involving faculty, students, administration, and anyone involved in the education process.