'Holodeck' could revolutionize Hollywood, say its creators

Posted by Staff writer

Stony Brook University is building what it calls the closest thing in the world to Star Trek's 'holodeck'.

Known as the Reality Deck, the Immersive Giga-pixel Display will be a 40' x 30' x 11' high room containing 308 LCD display screens driven by an 85-node graphics computing cluster that gives performance not far off that of a supercomputer.

It will fully immerse visitors inside 1.25 billion pixels - approaching the limits of the human eye, says project director Arie E Kaufman.

"This revolutionary facility is a one-of-a-kind exploration theater," says Dr Kaufman. "It is an engineering feat – a unique assembly of hundreds of LCD displays, graphics cluster, sensors, communication, computer vision and human-computer interaction technologies to deliver a holistic system with a significant societal and research and development value."

Dr. Kaufman said the facility will have applications far beyond the research community. "It's a revolutionary exceptional display, which will probably revolutionize Hollywood," he said. "Instead of going and seeing IMAX, which is only 3D, you will be fully immersed in a giga resolution."

In the meantime, the facility will have rather more worthy applications. It will allow for incredibly detailed viewing of scans from the University Medical Center's new 320-slice computed tomography (CT) scanner, for example.

Other proposed projects include satellite imaging, nano electronics, climate modeling, micro tomography, survey telescopes for astronomical applications, detecting suspicious persons in a crowd, news and blog analyses. "Any application that involves a tremendous amount of data," Dr Kaufman said.

It's partly funded by a $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation, and should be completed in about a year.