Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Firm Tests Gaming on Movie-Style Screens

Filed under
Sci/Tech

Ever wish you could experience the "holodeck," the 3-D virtual environment aboard the Starship Enterprise? There's a company that believes it's come close, letting video game players play with huge, high-definition screens that envelop the user.

HoloDek, which takes its name from the "Star Trek" series, has been testing out the concept in Hampton for about a year.

"This is a movie theater for gamers," Mike Fortier, vice president for technology at HoloDek, told The Boston Globe.

The company's test site features 42 gaming stations with high-speed personal computers and high-definition screens ranging in size from 17 inches to 13 feet.

Then there's the "half-pipe," which features a screen that is 20 feet wide and 12 feet high. Another creation is a sphere, which is 20 feet in diameter and eventually will offer a 360-degree wraparound gaming effect. The gamer sits inside the sphere on a robot that rumbles, banks, and spins out, providing many of the same effects as a flight simulator.

Most video game players play at home on their computer, game console, or the Internet. But HoloDek officials believe their creation will bring such gamers out of the solitude of their homes.

"We want to make it socially acceptable to enjoy the gaming experience," said Kit McKittrick, CEO of HoloDek. "How many gamers have experienced the country club life?"

HoloDek, which grew out of a robot company that is still run by Fortier, is lining up the financing to roll out more than 160 high-end gaming facilities over the next five years in the Northeast. The company is also talking with movie theater chains about installing HoloDeks inside existing theaters.

Pricing will be $5 an hour and slightly less for people willing to pay a $40 annual membership fee. McKittrick said he expects to charge $1 a minute, or $60 an hour, to play the sphere or half-pipe. Training on any game is free.

McKittrick said HoloDek will make the half-pipe, the sphere, and the robot inside the sphere. Company employees can modify video games to run on the enlarged screens.

Target markets include long-term gamers, businesses and exotic educational uses - McKittrick noted that an engineer working for race car driver Roger Penske spent a week exploring whether the sphere could be used as a training site.

Associated Press

More in Tux Machines

today's howtos

Leftovers: Software

  • HandBrake 1.0.2 Open-Source Video Transcoder Released for Linux, Mac and Windows
    After more than 13 years of development, the HandBrake open-source video transcoding app reached 1.0 milestone on Christmas Eve last year, and the second bugfix release is already available. HandBrake 1.0.2 is full of improvements and bug fixes enhancing the out-of-the-box video, audio, and subtitles support, but also adds various platform specific changes for all supported operating systems, including GNU/Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows.
  • SMPlayer 17.1 Open-Source Video Player Introduces Chromecast Support, More
    It's been two and a half months since you last updated your SMPlayer open-source video player, and a new stable release is now available, versioned 17.1, with some exciting features. Sporting initial Chromecast support, SMPlayer 17.1 will let you send video files from your personal computer to your Chromecast device to watch them on your big-screen TV, or your friends for that matter. The feature supports both online and local sources, including those from popular video hosting services like YouTube and Vimeo.
  • Firefox 51 Released with FLAC Support, Better CPU Usage
    A new month means a new release of the venerable Mozilla Firefox web browser. Firefox 51 ships with FLAC support, WebGL 2, and a whole heap more — come see!
  • Mozilla Firefox 51.0 Now Available for Download, Supports FLAC Playback, WebGL 2
    It's not yet official, but the binary and source packages of the Firefox 51.0 web browser are now available for download on your GNU/Linux, macOS, or Microsoft Windows operating system. Mozilla will have the pleasure of unveiling the Firefox 51.0 release tomorrow, January 24, according to the official schedule, but you can already get your hands on the final version of the web browser by downloading the installers for your favorite OS right now from our website (links are at the end of the article).

OSS Leftovers

  • Berkeley launches RISELab, enabling computers to make intelligent real-time decisions
  • Amazon, Google, Huawei, and Microsoft sponsor UC Berkeley RISELab, AMPLab's successor
  • Brotli: A new compression algorithm for faster Internet
    Brotli is a new open source compression algorithm designed to enable an Internet that's faster for users. Modern web pages can often be made up of dozens of megabytes of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and that's before accounting for images, videos, or other large file content, which all makes for hefty downloads. Such loads are why pages are transferred in compressed formats; they significantly reduce the time required between a website visitor requesting a web page and that page appearing fully loaded on the screen and ready for use. While the Brotli algorithm was announced by Google in September 2015, only recently have the majority of web browsers have adopted it. The HTTP servers Apache and nginx now offer Brotli compression as an option. Besides Google, other commercial vendors (such as Cloudflare and DreamHost) have begun to deploy support for Brotli as well.
  • New Year’s resolution: Donate to 1 free software project every month
    Free and open source software is an absolutely critical part of our world—and the future of technology and computing. One problem that consistently plagues many free software projects, though, is the challenge of funding ongoing development (and support and documentation). With that in mind, I have finally settled on a New Year’s resolution for 2017: to donate to one free software project (or group) every month—or the whole year. After all, these projects are saving me a boatload of money because I don’t need to buy expensive, proprietary packages to accomplish the same things.
  • Toyota and Ford Promote Open Source Smartphone Interfaces
    Ford and Toyota have formed a four-automaker consortium to speed up the deployment of open source software for connected in-car systems, according to a report by Bloomberg. The SmartDeviceLink Consortium, which includes Mazda, PSA Group, Fuji, and Suzuki, aims to prevent Apple and Google from controlling how drivers connect smartphones to their vehicles. Suppliers Elektrobit, Harma, Luxoft, QNX, and Xevo have also joined the organization, which is named after an open source version of Ford’s AppLink connectivity interface, a system used in over 5 million vehicles globally.
  • What your code repository says about you
    "You only get one chance to make a first impression," the old saying goes. It's cliche, but nevertheless sound, practical advice. In the realm of open source, it can make the difference between a project that succeeds and a project that fails. That's why making a positive first impression when you release a repo to the world is essential—at least if your motivations involve gaining users, building a community of contributors, and attracting valuable feedback.
  • The Open Source Way of Reaching Across Languages
    I don’t speak Spanish, but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn some important things from this video. The visuals alone are quite instructive. At my public library job, I mentor a number of wonderful Latino youth. One of them might ask me about open source CAD software — and I’ll direct them right to this FOSS Force article. Of course, I subscribed to the YouTube channel of the creator of this video, and also clicked on its like button. If the screencast creator comes back to look at this video in February, they’ll find that they have a number of new subscribers, a number of likes for the video and the video view count might be more than 100. All those indicators will be encouragement for them to make their next open source screencast. And so it goes. That’s how we support each other in the open source world.
  • School systems desperate for standards-aligned curricula find hope
    Open Up Resources is a nonprofit collaborative formed by 13 U.S. states that creates high-quality, standards-aligned open educational resources (OERs) that are openly licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0. Unlike other providers, Open Up Resources provides curriculum-scale OER options; they believe that while many people seem to know where to find supplemental materials, most curriculum directors would not know where to look if they were planning a textbook adoption next year.
  • Visual Studio Test joins Microsoft's open source push [Ed: More openwashing of proprietary software from Microsoft, which interjects surveillance into compiled code]
  • Microsoft Open-Sources DirectX Shader Compiler [Ed: Windows lock-in.]

Red Hat's Survey in India