'Holodeck' could revolutionize Hollywood, say its creators

  • 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.