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This floor, it vibrates?
February 24, 2009 11:21 PM   Subscribe

Whereever you go, there you are: One step closer to a Holodeck (SLYT)
posted by slater (46 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
My cat does that.
posted by dhammond at 11:30 PM on February 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


Walk, don't run.

(But quite cool)
posted by Artw at 11:32 PM on February 24, 2009


What if you decide to turn around?
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:50 PM on February 24, 2009


Um, you would never be one step closer, you're still in the exact same place!
posted by lee at 11:50 PM on February 24, 2009


Do not jump at 45 degree angles.
posted by Artw at 11:54 PM on February 24, 2009


Cute, but seems a little overengineered. What's wrong with giant human sized hamster balls... or Lawnmower Man gyro-thingies? Or, oh look, somebody's invented an omnidirectional treadmill that you could actually take real steps on. Sweet. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQw1tsgrJOs)
posted by Skwirl at 12:16 AM on February 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


They tried to create a holodeck by reprogramming Roombas?
posted by Curry at 12:22 AM on February 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


always wondered how they managed to not run into walls in the holodeck
posted by Glibpaxman at 12:50 AM on February 25, 2009


Cute, but seems a little overengineered. What's wrong with giant human sized hamster balls

Obviously their at a very early stage, taking literal baby steps even, but looking at the video it seems like its simulating walking up a flight of stairs. That's really something new isn't it?
posted by adamt at 1:00 AM on February 25, 2009


I just know that my brother is already figuring out some way to make this into a new (and more difficult) form of DDR.
posted by Mizu at 1:12 AM on February 25, 2009


Why, hello there, Counselor Troi...
posted by chillmost at 1:55 AM on February 25, 2009


We need transporters and replicators way more than we need holodecks. I hope somebody's putting some effort into those.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:16 AM on February 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ah, but would a plane on this floor be able to take off?
posted by DreamerFi at 3:35 AM on February 25, 2009 [6 favorites]


It depends.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:40 AM on February 25, 2009


We need transporters and replicators way more than we need holodecks.

Maybe not. Maybe we don't need to go places and get stuff as much as we need to be entertained -- we need transport, not transportation. If people got lots of exciting exercise and their fantasies were fed at relatively low cost to themselves and the world, you'd be doing a lot of good.

If you think you're climbing Everest because it looks and feels that way, maybe that's better for you and the world than you actually climbing Everest. If you think you're driving the world's fastest car at night through Paris with the police in pursuit, maybe that's better for you and the world than you driving what you can afford where you can afford it and drowning your boredom in beer. Much depends on whether simulating is less costly to the environment and your wallet than actually having and doing (making, shipping, storing, selling, installing, fuelling, housing, maintaining, discarding, landfilling, hospitalizing, cremating, etc.).

None of that would feed the hungry, but maybe simulating the unnecessary would leave more room and resources for the necessary.
posted by pracowity at 4:04 AM on February 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


You are essentially advocating for the Matrix.
posted by ND¢ at 4:26 AM on February 25, 2009


Interesting. I look forward to it being able to accommodate forms of movement more sudden and speedy than an Alzheimers patient's shuffle. Maybe enough of the things floating around you that you physically can't jump far enough to get off them? (Which is a kind of strange prison ...)
posted by aeschenkarnos at 4:28 AM on February 25, 2009


The problem with giant human sized hamster balls is that you need inertia dampeners.
posted by Submiqent at 5:21 AM on February 25, 2009


...maybe that's better for you and the world than you driving what you can afford where you can afford it and drowning your boredom in beer.

You're actually suggesting that continuing to own cars and drink at home is preferable to being able to step into a transporter and have a few beers at one of the better biergartens in Germany?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:24 AM on February 25, 2009


Excellent. I'll buy four Roombas during the next Woot-off.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:26 AM on February 25, 2009


(Which is a kind of strange prison ...)

I assume you mean an awesome prison.

Personally I'm waiting for my computer to make bleepybloop noises, and whirs. It's not the future without whirs.
posted by odinsdream at 5:43 AM on February 25, 2009


You are essentially advocating for the Matrix.

With a Fiona Johnson in every pot. What, do you think your world is real?
posted by pracowity at 6:14 AM on February 25, 2009


That thing must require a fistful of datas to operate.
posted by pmbuko at 6:29 AM on February 25, 2009


For my money, the omni-directional treadmill is the winner here. Seems like a much more "ready-to-go" piece of technology, and much less likely to cause horrible accidents. I can't imagine those moving floor pieces ever being able to keep up with someone jogging or running.
posted by dellsolace at 6:34 AM on February 25, 2009


"You're actually suggesting that continuing to own cars and drink at home is preferable to being able to step into a transporter"

Well, since teleportation necessarily results in death every single time pne attempts to teleport, yes having a car and living at home is better.
posted by oddman at 6:42 AM on February 25, 2009


Indy, why does the floor move?
posted by kirkaracha at 8:03 AM on February 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Speaking of holodecks, here they are. Keck caves.
posted by aniola at 8:04 AM on February 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


needs some cats or babies
posted by fuzzypantalones at 8:46 AM on February 25, 2009


I can't imagine how any amount of entertainment could be better for us than being able to transport any materials large distances instantly or being able to endlessly replicate food, shelter, and water.
posted by 3FLryan at 8:47 AM on February 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Virtusphere.

Seriously, I can't wait till 2020 to run around inside one of these things playing CoD:X:Modern Warfare:The Embiggening
posted by daHIFI at 8:55 AM on February 25, 2009


I can't imagine how any amount of entertainment could be better for us than being able to transport any materials large distances instantly or being able to endlessly replicate food, shelter, and water.

I agree, but I can't imagine how any of this stuff would be better than rubbing a bottle and asking a genii to grant me three wishes. Simulation is happening now and is improving on paths that indicate a promising future for the technology, but transporters and replicators a la Star Trek? Are you waiting for them to happen?
posted by pracowity at 9:38 AM on February 25, 2009


Nope, not waiting for it. I was mainly responding to your comment about improvements in entertainment possibly being better for us than improvements in transportation and food. I was essentially seconding Kirth Gerson's sentiment that "We need transporters and replicators way more than we need holodecks. I hope somebody's putting some effort into those."

Substitute "more efficiently" for "instantly" if you want. I just went with the extreme case to demonstrate I don't believe an infinite amount of entertainment to be better than an infinite amount of transportation or food.
posted by 3FLryan at 10:11 AM on February 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know, I was talking about transporters with some friends, and we concluded that there's really little evidence in the shows (TNG anyhow, based on my vague memories) that they're used in any context other than capital starships. It seems completely plausible to me that it's such an energy-intensive technology, even in that universe, that pretty much only the military uses it for seeking out new life and new civilizations.

My current operating model (soon to be contradicted by the bajillions of "physics of star trek" books) is that transporter technology is not very efficient in Star Trek; and is primarily used when its instantaneousness is worth more than the energy required to use it.
posted by breath at 11:03 AM on February 25, 2009


You know, I was talking about transporters with some friends, and we concluded that there's really little evidence in the shows (TNG anyhow, based on my vague memories) that they're used in any context other than capital starships

I remember one character talking about using up all his transporter credits to visit home while at the Academy, so they're on Earth, but rationed in some way. But what about that ship they found Scotty in? Wasn't that just basically a civilian transport taking old people to some retirement colony?
posted by heathkit at 11:16 AM on February 25, 2009


But what about that ship they found Scotty in? Wasn't that just basically a civilian transport taking old people to some retirement colony?

Hm, well maybe all spacecraft of large enough size, regardless of category, have transporters, because they're better than docks. Space travel itself is gonna be mad expensive so I bet transporters aren't excessive in comparison.
posted by breath at 11:28 AM on February 25, 2009


SISKOOOOO

Yeah, it was in DS9, Sisko talks about being homesick at the Academy, and going back to New Orleans every night to visit his dad. The episode in question is Homefront.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:31 AM on February 25, 2009


I've always thought that transporters were inconstantly used as plot devices, especially the uber powerful "site to site" transport, where neither the origin or destination is a transporter pad. It could be explained away as being more dangerous than traditional transportation, but I chalk it up to writers sometimes needing something to take longer or develop the plot more than "blip! they're here, safe and sound". Just like how so many movies could have been solved if the characters had freaking cell phones.

Also, apparently lots of people don't trust transporters, notably the 137 year old Dr. McCoy, who prefers shuttle craft. Nice to know that in the future people still don't trust science.
posted by fontophilic at 1:25 PM on February 25, 2009


IIRC the replicator technology is basically the same thing, only it works from a stored template rather than destroying the physical original. Whoops, did I say destroy? No, no, I'm sure something else happens to it, no creepy implications there.
posted by Artw at 1:34 PM on February 25, 2009


I can't imagine how any amount of entertainment could be better for us than being able to transport any materials large distances instantly or being able to endlessly replicate food, shelter, and water.

I can. Because no VR entertainment device can be used to transport bombs, or replicate weapons of mass destruction. Want a transporter that can move any materials long distance? Then imagine a hundred 9-11s every hour, every day, until civilization collapses. Want an endless supply of food and shelter? Than you've got an endless supply of chemical or bioweapons anywhere there's enough space and energy to run a replicator.

If you want your neat toys, then you better have equally neat defenses already in place. Myself, I'll take the VR entertainment.
posted by happyroach at 4:02 PM on February 25, 2009


roach, you're ignoring the fact that in the Star Trek world, there is no want - everything that can be replicated is free. No starving hordes, no hating us for our freedoms material wealth. I suspect it would put a big dent in religious fundamentalism, too, but it might not.

Anyway, since the transporter has to reintegrate whatever it's moving, why not build in code that would leave harmful things like bombs and diseases disintegrated? Sort of a spam filter for physical items.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:32 PM on February 25, 2009


Ok, I imagine 100 replicated surface to air missiles that intercept those planes instantly every hour. Or a billion trillion armored whatevers to fend off the billion trillion AK-47s.

Human history shows we're pretty good to coming to an equilibrium when it comes to power/weapons.

Not so good at feeding all the hungry.

Did the world blow up during the Cold War? Nope. Neither side stands to gain from a wholly blown up world. Why do you suppose this would happen with this technology? Why is it different than discovering we are able to split an atom, with all its amazing and terrible consequences?

The point is entertainment is peripheral to life essentials. Of course, invent something that has a chance to effect life's essentials and you are opening the door for good and bad things to happen, but I'd rather that than tread water.
posted by 3FLryan at 4:40 PM on February 25, 2009


(Though treading water does keep you alive...)
posted by 3FLryan at 4:42 PM on February 25, 2009


(but you don't move anywhere...) (man I could go on...)
posted by 3FLryan at 4:42 PM on February 25, 2009


@happyroach: do they pay you to spout that kind of fear, or are you just soaking in it so much that you don't even notice it anymore?
posted by Hildegarde at 5:14 PM on February 25, 2009


I can't imagine how any amount of entertainment could be better for us than being able to transport any materials large distances instantly or being able to endlessly replicate food, shelter, and water.

Sign me up!
posted by SheMulp AKA Plus 1 at 10:38 AM on February 26, 2009


Kirth, Hildegarde, you're both kind of missing the point. I'm hardly anti-technology, but its a good idea to look at technologies and not ignore the possible side effects.

For example Kirth, you're missing the point that I was speaking metaphorically. With the transporter, one wouldn't need the planes, or the air-to-air missiles, since you can simply transport the explosives to the destination at will. Unless transporters can be shielded against (and in that case, where does the transported item go?), you're looking at an era of pinpoint, precision terrorism, anywhere on the planet.

It's also worth noting that the world didn't blow up during the Cold War (and we came very close several times, mostly by accident or tech failure) due to a lot of effort being expended in both countermeasures, AND political restraint. We removed missiles from Turkey and Cuba, we avoided building colbat-jacketed bombs, and we failed to build Project Pluto. In all of those cases there were people wildly excited about the technology applications of nukes, handwaving away the minor side effects.

We frankly survived the Cold War because we stepped back from the use of a technology, because we were able to see the results. that's not fearmongering or Ludditism.
posted by happyroach at 3:13 PM on February 27, 2009


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