From Academic Kids

In the Star Trek fictional universe, the holodeck is a form of virtual reality.

Missing image
The holodeck on the Enterprise-D

The holodeck is an enclosed room in which objects and people are simulated by a combination of replicated matter animated with weak tractor beams as well as shaped force fields onto which holographic images are projected. Sounds and smells are simulated by speakers and fragranced fluid atomizers. The feel of a large environment is simulated by having the participants suspended on force fields which move with their feet, keeping them in one place; perspective is retained through use of sound dampening fields and graviton lenses which make objects and people sound and appear more distant. The effect is realistic simulation of environments, with which the user can interact.

Two of the main purposes of the holodeck are recreation and training. They are also sometimes used to recreate a crime or questionable incident to determine the forensics and logistics of it for law enforcement purposes. However, the technology is also used for morally questionable ends, as the holosuites owned and rented out, usually for sexual purposes, by Quark on Deep Space Nine.

The holodeck includes safeguards known as safety protocols that attempt to protect the safety of the user or users. While it does not entirely shield users from minor injury (such as strained muscles or dislocated joints), it does prevent more serious injuries and fatalities. The protocols were designed so that users could derive maximum use from the holodeck with a high degree of realism.

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USS Voyager's holodeck

Holodecks are vulnerable when damage occurs to the computer controlling the holodeck. Malfunctions have at times resulted in the safety protocols being inadvertently disabled. Some malfunctions have also been known to trap users inside the holodeck. This resulted in the shooting of the ship's historian on board Enterprise in one instance, and several crew members were trapped. In another incident Lt. Worf, Alexander, and Counselor Troi were trapped in an 19th century American West adventure with the protocols disabled when a computer experiment involving Lt. Cmdr. Data went awry. Worf received a minor gunshot wound when the computer began remaking all the characters as replicas of Data. However he was able to safely play out the story, and once the story ended the trio was able to leave the holodeck.

Writing stories and plotlines for the holodeck is an activity pursued by people known as holodeck novelists, and it was the chosen profession of Lt. Tom Paris of the USS Voyager which he pursued when the ship finally returned from the Delta Quadrant in the show's finale.

Despite the malfunctions, holodecks are still seen as a highly valued technology in Starfleet because of educational and recreational opportunities that they present, and that would be difficult under normal circumstances.

External links

The closest thing to a holodeck that is allowed by the laws of physics in reality is a stage or room in which three dimensional images are projected onto a stage using lasers.


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