How to make a Star Trek-style Holodeck with an Oculus Rift and 3 Kinect sensors

[From BGR]

Oculus Rift + Kinect = Holodeck

How to make a Star Trek-style Holodeck with an Oculus Rift and 3 Kinect sensors

By Brad Reed on May 14, 2014

All proper sci-fi nerds have long dreamed of being able to take a trip in the Holodeck, a virtual reality chamber located on Star Trek’s USS Enterprise where you can simulate any time, place and situation you want to be in. Oliver Kreylos, a computer science professor and researcher at the University of California, Davis, has come the closest we’ve seen yet to creating a working Holodeck and he’s done it using an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset and three Kinect sensors from a previous-generation Xbox.

In Kreylos’s setup, the Oculus Rift serves as the main user interface that will immerse you into a virtual world. The three Kinect sensors, meanwhile, are set up to take footage of you in 3D and project a virtual avatar of your body into the virtual world shown on the Oculus Rift. This means that you’ll not only be able to look around in this virtual world but you’ll be able to see your own hands in front of you as though you’re actually in it.

This is obviously a crude setup compared to what we see in science fiction films and Kreylos admits that the first-generation Kinect faces some limitations that make his avatar image appear very fuzzy on-screen. Kreylos explains that he decided to not use the Kinect’s skeletal reconstruction algorithm in his setup because doing so would have created an unacceptable amount of latency. Instead, he would rather put up with having a fuzzy self-image than have a choppy experience in his virtual world.

Kreylos’s entire blog post explaining how he setup his own Holodeck is well worth reading. We’ve also posted some footage of Kreylos interacting with a virtual office [here].


One response to “How to make a Star Trek-style Holodeck with an Oculus Rift and 3 Kinect sensors”

  1. Justin C. Roden

    What comes next? Will they be able to include smells and sensations? This is pretty cool though that you can start to see your hands and “body” inside the simulation. I can’t help but think of how in the simulated world of The Matrix films, the characters create the digital version or avatar version of themselves. It is interesting how different the “ideal” self image becomes. I can see this technology being applied to popular applications such as second life in the near future. I also wonder if social media will adopt a virtual component where you can interact with say your facebook friends in a virtual space. If this happened with facebook for example, an actual social life in REAL life might become sadly less relevant? Everyone would be interacting with ideal versions of the self. These avatars, much like the photo-shopped and distorted images already apparent on social media would lead to a distorted view of reality.

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