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Google Invents The Holodeck
February 11, 2010 9:01 PM   Subscribe

Google has invented the Holodeck. Well, not really, but for the moment it's probably the next best thing. Google's Liquid Galaxy Project, a virtual glass elevator that lets you fly around the world, makes for a stunning presentation. Developed as part of Google’s “20 per cent time” initiative, which sees its engineers encouraged to pursue their own projects on company time, Liquid Galaxy allows users to fly through the Grand Canyon, leap into low-Earth orbit and back down into the oceans and even perch oneself on the Great Pyramid of Giza, all without even breaking a sweat. Check out the amazing video here.
posted by Effigy2000 (61 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
I've been in this, back in July or so, visiting a friend who works at the Plex. It's pretty cool. At the time I don't think you could talk to it - or at least if you could, the friend who showed it to me didn't know that. I think they need to team up with these StarCAVE guys at UCSD to really get the project to live up to its full potential. The StarCAVE requires 3d glasses and I think the projection is higher definition.

I kind of hadn't really thought about the fact that I've been into two different prototype holodecks in the last couple years. That's actually completely amazing.
posted by crinklebat at 9:12 PM on February 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


I really hope those screens are vomit-resistant.
posted by Pontius Pilate at 9:13 PM on February 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wow, very impressive.

Now I really want to get it hooked up with the head-mounted display I have at work... though getting that working would probably still take some effort.
posted by Arandia at 9:14 PM on February 11, 2010


Google's got a Great Glass Elevator? Someone's gonna be pissed!
posted by mazola at 9:17 PM on February 11, 2010


GOOGLE has unveiled one of the greatest toys ever

Isn't this the same as last year's Google holodeck?
posted by twoleftfeet at 9:19 PM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Heh, shades of stellar cartography from Star Trek.

But yeah, needs head tracking.
posted by jedicus at 9:20 PM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Let me know when a google server fault traps the occupants in a major historical event and they need to assist/become the central protagonist and supporting characters, force the important NPCs to get all their shit together and work as a team to to defeat the antagonist, fix history and save the day just in time for the techs to fix the original problem with some ingenious last minute hack and get the crew out into the real world.
posted by Throw away your common sense and get an afro! at 9:23 PM on February 11, 2010 [21 favorites]


Mountains of data, meet VR interface.
posted by jimmythefish at 9:24 PM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Next year Google builds and a blue police box and we're all fucked.
posted by The Whelk at 9:24 PM on February 11, 2010 [17 favorites]


I kept waiting for the crash & fireball.
posted by desjardins at 9:29 PM on February 11, 2010


Just imagine where this will be in 5 years.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:29 PM on February 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


Isn't this the same as last year's Google holodeck ?

Yeah, this is a quasi-double as this has been in the news and on MeFi before, just not this exact article.

I mean, it's cool - and check out the underwater landscape in Monterey Bay in Google Earth - but it's cool and been seen.
posted by GuyZero at 9:30 PM on February 11, 2010


Next year Google builds and a blue police box and we're all fucked.

Heh. There's a British phone box sitting next to the holodeck in one of the GOOG building lobbies.
posted by GuyZero at 9:31 PM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


This can't be all that new. One of the local museums has a tour of the solar system, where you don 3d glasses, and stand in a room where the floor, ceiling, and 3 walls are real-projection screens.
posted by niles at 9:31 PM on February 11, 2010


I was waiting for the Google Loompa tour guide to break into song....

"If you want to view Paradise
Simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it...
Want to make the world
There's nothing to it...

There is no life I know
To Compare with pure imagination
Living there
You'll be free
If you truly...wish to...(clasps hands over Google employee badge)....beeeeeeeee.
(wipes tear from eye)

Uh, sorry folks. Anyway, questions? Anybody?"
posted by prinado at 9:54 PM on February 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


Google's going to have some really fantastic stuff waiting for you, free... once you join Google Borg and check the "Accept All Tracking and Advertising" box.
posted by darth_tedious at 9:58 PM on February 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


This can't be all that new.

NO! It's new and magical and inspires a sense of child-like wonderment, amazement and awe! DAMN IT! Enjoy it or else! (check Google Stock price here)
posted by peppito at 10:02 PM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Eh, big deal, I played with one of those in college

(Actually reading the page now it seems like there have been some upgrades. At the time, they used these giant CRT projectors, which were actually not all that bright. Now they have Sony 4k projectors. And all powered by rackmounted PCs with top end GPUs, whereas they had these old SGI beasts running the thing before. )
posted by delmoi at 10:08 PM on February 11, 2010


This can't be all that new.

I think the "new" part is that it's linked into Google Earth and is doing the surround views dynamically based on the user's whims. The museum piece may be canned film loops, or at the very least, not a dynamic database which will continually be improved.
posted by hippybear at 10:08 PM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....

I hate to do this. I so hate the haters who do this.

Arrgh...can't help it:

Meh.
posted by Skygazer at 10:14 PM on February 11, 2010


perhaps eventually, you'll be able to zoom around the world and there will be little popups flags of who else is on their holodeck, and you can go fly around together, or hang out in their living rooms if they've uploaded them to the DB.

Also, if it was a real holodeck, you'd be able to do it in any time period, as well. I'd love to zoom along a real-time map of the Battle of Trafalgar or the building of the pyramids or dinosaurs.

Just sayin'
posted by Jon_Evil at 10:17 PM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


god damn comma creep! where's that 3 minute edit window?
posted by Jon_Evil at 10:18 PM on February 11, 2010


Can they make just a single screen that wraps around, like a cylinder? This looks like it's going to go some neat places. (Much better than that whole 3D fad you working-stereo-vision people can't shut up about.)
posted by troybob at 10:20 PM on February 11, 2010


Come on, this is the easy part. Although it's a cool demo, and research like this is great, systems like this (like the CAVE) have been around for decades. The hard part of the holodeck is haptic feedback.
posted by demiurge at 10:39 PM on February 11, 2010


The hard part of the holodeck is haptic feedback.

...and the mopping up afterwards.
posted by The Tensor at 11:58 PM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


VIRTUAL REALITY: the Wave of the Future of the early 1990s.
posted by dgaicun at 12:05 AM on February 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Awesome, they hooked Google Earth up to a joystick and some big monitors. This is almost as cool as Google Buzz.
posted by dvdgee at 12:16 AM on February 12, 2010 [8 favorites]


Much better than that whole 3D fad you working-stereo-vision people can't shut up about.

It's really, honestly not a fad. In five years, many people will have 3D TVs in their house--it's only trivially more expensive to make a 3D TV than it is to make a regular LCD TV, and Cameron worked out a legitimate 3D authoring system.

But I'm very sorry to hear about your disability.
posted by Netzapper at 12:39 AM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


it's only trivially more expensive to make a 3D TV than it is to make a regular LCD TV

Sweet.
posted by delmoi at 12:40 AM on February 12, 2010


Computer, end program.
posted by DreamerFi at 1:48 AM on February 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


It's really, honestly not a fad. In five years, many people will have 3D TVs in their house--it's only trivially more expensive to make a 3D TV than it is to make a regular LCD TV, and Cameron worked out a legitimate 3D authoring system.
According to this article (Keep doing that and you'll go blind) the technology is there, but prolonged viewing can cause something called 'binocular dysphoria', which can cause disorientation, problems with depth perception, etc. Worse, there's a concern that prolonged exposure to 3D video could cause permanent damage to the malleable brains of children.

Then again James Cameron could end up like Steve Martin in The Jerk (3D glasses/Opti-Grip glasses' holder), so it wouldn't be all bad.

Knowing Americans, people won't care that their children will spend the rest of their lives staggering and stumbling around like drunkards because Big Pharma will make a pill for it that makes kids too sedate to leave the couch. And if you're going to be spending most of your time drooling on the couch in some kind of prescription narcotic haze, you might as well be watching the best 3D TV available! Amirite?
posted by Davenhill at 2:29 AM on February 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


Everything is amazing and nobody is happy.
posted by scottjlowe at 2:29 AM on February 12, 2010 [24 favorites]


I think that's the most depressing comment I've ever read on Metafilter, scottjlowe.

... Congratulations?
posted by Rumpled at 2:50 AM on February 12, 2010


"Also, if it was a real holodeck, you'd be able to do it in any time period, as well. "

You've got it Jon Evil, but I'm not sure you know you've got it, if you know what I mean. Wink wink.
posted by Ella Fynoe at 2:56 AM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think that's the most depressing comment I've ever read on Metafilter, scottjlowe.

... Congratulations?


Its Louis CK
posted by vacapinta at 3:07 AM on February 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


I would like to use this to take my friends to some of the places that I am forbidden to discuss or acknowledge publicly because of signed confidentiality agreements.Maybe it can become a virtual tourism route.

How long before the virtual tourism industry is making money?
posted by brando_calrissian at 3:11 AM on February 12, 2010


That's pretty rad. Now let's get Creative Assembly working on an installment of Total War for Google's new Wonkadeck.
posted by EatTheWeak at 3:16 AM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow. I love it when something makes me feel like I'm living in the future, but, like, today.

Shades of Do Android Dream of Electric Sheep here - forking over your hard earned for the extra walls to close you in for full immersion. Can you imagine Modern Warfare 2 on this thing? Or video chatting with somebody in any location you like? Bring it on!
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:55 AM on February 12, 2010


GOOGLE has unveiled one of the greatest toys ever

A Windows 98 era flight simulator with no planes?
posted by fire&wings at 3:57 AM on February 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've got perfectly functional 3D now, in my house, wherever I go, 24/7. It's called reality.
posted by crazylegs at 3:57 AM on February 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


Don't be evil? So where have all the fucking fish gone?!?!?111? Bastards.
posted by i_cola at 4:57 AM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's called reality.

Unless you've got gills, I think you'll find Google's "reality" less drown-inducing.

Do feel free to explore the greater reaches of your bathtub and let me know, though.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:00 AM on February 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


GOOGLE has unveiled one of the greatest toys ever

A Windows 98 era flight simulator with no planes?


Wrong. How can people possibly forget that Google's primary resource is data? Peripherals like this are just employee's ways to explore that data and make it more user-friendly.

Unless I missed something, and those old flight sims include constantly-updating information on street locations, buildings, terrain, natural and man-made structures, etc...
posted by pedmands at 6:05 AM on February 12, 2010


It's like Flight of the Navigator!
posted by chihiro at 6:05 AM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Claim: Google has invented the Holodeck

Reality: Google's Liquid Galaxy is engineer Jason Holt's 20% time project, a wraparound view of 8 LCD screens

So of the 3 key words in the claim, "google" "invented" and "holodeck" not a single one was correct.
posted by DU at 6:20 AM on February 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


If we just add a Klingon warrior growling "I CAN SEE MY HOUSE FROM HERE!," we can recreate the exact instant I gave up on Star Trek: Enterprise.
posted by nicepersonality at 6:51 AM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just imagine where this will be in 5 years.

On my iPad?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:50 AM on February 12, 2010


On my iPad?!

Nay... on EIGHT iPads!
posted by fusinski at 8:21 AM on February 12, 2010


It's really, honestly not a fad. [...] it's only trivially more expensive to make a 3D TV than it is to make a regular LCD TV

I don't really care about the cost of manufacture. I honestly don't understand why anyone thinks 3D TVs are something people want. All this talk about how the future is 3D makes me not want to live there.
posted by nickmark at 8:34 AM on February 12, 2010


an examination of shmegegge's warring psyche re: Google's Glass Elevator:

Cynical shmegegge: well, I've been seeing this tech in arcades since I was a kid, in multi-screen racing games and flight sim arcade games.

optimistic shmegegge: ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME THIS IS THE COOLEST THING EVER!!!

cynical shmegegge: well, it's not bad or anything, but it really is just a bunch of monitors hooked up to a custom google earth interface.

optimistic shmegegge: ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME THIS IS THE COOLEST THING EVER!!!

cynical shmegegge: look, I'm all for cool tech, but when you g-

optimistic shmegegge: ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME THIS IS THE COOLEST THING EVER!!!

cynical shmegegge: yeah, it's pretty co-

optimistic shmegegge: COOLEST THING EVER!!!

cynical shmegegge: I do kind of like how it g-

optimistic shmegegge: COOLEST! THING! EVER!!!

cynical shmegegge and optimistic shmegegge in unison: COOLEST! THING! EVER!!!
posted by shmegegge at 8:36 AM on February 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


Dear Google: Have you considered making applications like, say, "Robotech: The Zentradi Invasion" or "Superman vs. Worldwide Space Invasion"? Because that would be awesome!
posted by yeloson at 8:40 AM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's this too from IDEO Labs.

So last year...
posted by marvin at 8:42 AM on February 12, 2010


Dear Google: Have you considered making applications like, say, "Robotech: The Zentradi Invasion" or "Superman vs. Worldwide Space Invasion"? Because that would be awesome!

While we're at it, why not ask for Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League
posted by mikelieman at 8:57 AM on February 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


dvdgee : Awesome, they hooked Google Earth up to a joystick and some big monitors. This is almost as cool as Google Buzz.

As someone who has used Google Earth and StreetView as a way of touring some cities and other places I'm never likely to actually get to, I can tell you which one I think is more valuable.

A Windows 98 era flight simulator with no planes?

Yeah, but a flight simulator where you can go over your town and actually be able to say "Hey! I can see my house from here!" and mean it.

Besides, think about how bad ass this will be when there are other planes? That you can dogfight with...
posted by quin at 9:42 AM on February 12, 2010


Awesome, they hooked Google Earth up to a joystick and some big monitors.

I think it's pretty cool that each of the monitors is displaying a different orientation of the scene from the standpoint of the viewer, so if you were to physically turn your body around within the space you would find it is a 360° panorama within space. That is infinitely cooler than simply having the screens linked together as one giant wide screen all facing forward. I'm sure it's trivial using the Google Earth engine, and mostly involves just fixing the relative view angle to "forward" for each of the screens... But still, it's a lovely effect.
posted by hippybear at 9:59 AM on February 12, 2010


It's only a model.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 10:14 AM on February 12, 2010


It's only a model.

shhhh!
posted by hippybear at 10:16 AM on February 12, 2010


Nay... on EIGHT iPads!

Laugh at my crazy schemes all you want, but I'm imagining wearing a helmet made out of iPads right now. With a $30 Apple dongle to attach a cup holder and sippy straw for beverages.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:18 AM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


So of the 3 key words in the claim, "google" "invented" and "holodeck" not a single one was correct.

No, one out of three was correct. "20% time" projects are Google projects. Gmail was a 20% time project.

I'm imagining wearing a helmet made out of iPads right now.

And I'm imagining you wearing a helmet made out of iPads, and it's strangely somewhat arousing.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:30 AM on February 12, 2010


OK, instead of an elevator, I am thinking a king bed with a ceiling-sized monitor overhead and instead of the Grand Canyon I am thinking Shania Twain from her "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?" video days but yes! I am SO there!
posted by Mike D at 1:12 PM on February 12, 2010


me & my monkey: And I'm imagining you wearing a helmet made out of iPads, and it's strangely somewhat arousing.

For you or your monkey?
posted by Skygazer at 1:20 PM on February 12, 2010


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