Back in December 2011 Gary made a short post about innovations happening on the “holodeck” front. Then the Institute for Research in Art and Design in Basel, Switzerland had been working to turn the Sankt Johanns Park on the banks of the Rhine into a primitive blend of real world and virtual reality. Fast-forward two years and we find that the global security company Northrop Grumman also sees the value in the technology, but as can be expected of a major Pentagon contractor, specifically its military applications. Moving away from the ten-kilogram kit the Swiss lifeClipper3 system required, instead opting for a portable lightweight environment that combines off-the-shelf hardware with gaming technology, the VIPE Holodeck allows for 360 degree training environments for anything from basic simulations to mission rehearsal and visualization exercises. The system’s inherent flexibility allows users to employ easily attained commercial hardware ensuring that costs are kept down and that future software upgrades and maintenance can be easily performed.
The system can also be networked together to allow multi-user interactions, so I’m sure the moment a more commercially viable option is made available many first-person gamers will be in line buying theirs. That however might have to wait, as Northrop will be first focusing on bringing this technology to law enforcement and the medical field for training first responders in a variety of scenarios.