Imagine stepping into a room where, at the touch of a button, you could visit any city on Earth, have any experience you wanted and do anything you wanted to do.
That’s what was envisaged in the various series of Star Trek in the form of a holodeck, and now scientists are one step closer to making the fictional technology a reality.
Using an Oculus Rift headset and a room full of cameras, researchers have been able to partially simulate travelling to mysterious, virtual worlds.
To replicate the experience of being in a Star Trek holodeck, the team use a wireless virtual reality Oculus Rift headset.
This means their test subjects can walk around the room unhindered.
In the video by Computerphile the researchers explain how they set up multiple infrared cameras around the room, which communicate with the wireless headset.
The sides of the square room each measured 32 feet (10 metres), giving the subjects ample room to wander around.
According to the scientists each of the test subjects can be tracked down to millimetre precision.
‘I got to try out the holodeck and the experience was crazy, really realistic,’ Sean Riley of Computerphile tells MailOnline.
‘They’re using it to simulate in-flight comfort for a project called VR-Hyperspace – the idea is that going into VR it might be a way to improve in-flight experience.
‘They are looking at whether changing your avatar’s size causes you to feel like you have more space.’
‘Most of the research they’re doing is to test what prevents nausea and so on – I have to say I felt a little nauseous after I got a bit cocky in there; generally though you feel like you are there.’
To create the experience the researchers attached markers on top of the headset similar to those used for motion capture in movies.
The team can then give the user a virtual world within which they can walk around.
Unlike the actual holodeck in Star Trek, however, players cannot interact with their environment, leaving some of the subjects to reveal the experience feels slightly odd.
In the video shown, one of the subjects dons the headset and makes her way up and down the aisles of an airplane.
A seat is provided for her in the real world, which she can sidle towards and sit in.
The technology is still very much in its infancy, so there is no news yet if there will be attempts to create public locations that people can use, but for those who want to see the holodeck become a reality this is certainly a step in the right direction.