MOVIES

How Does The Holodeck Actually Work?

Watching the various “Star Trek” series, you’ll see the subtle evolution of holodeck technology. In “Star Trek: Enterprise,” before humans have access to the technology, it’s revealed that similar holographic tech was used by the Xyrillians. A more rudimentary version of a holodeck also appears in “Star Trek: The Animated Series.” “Star Trek: Voyager” expands the perception of holograms in “Star Trek” immensely through its Doctor character, a holographic medical officer who is able to learn, love, achieve sentience, and even evolve.

Visually, holodecks have also changed quite a bit over the years. In “The Next Generation,” the inactive room basically just looks like a cyber grid. This design was fleshed out more in the holosuites of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” due to larger budget allowances.

“When we did ‘Next Generation’ we were in a budget constraint that made us do a set that is a wireframe look; it’s a grid of squares when the holodeck is not activated and they just see a black void with yellow grids,” production designer Herman Zimmerman revealed in “The Deep Space Log Book,” a companion piece to the show’s second season. “In the Cardassian holodeck when the lights go off, so to speak, you see the machinery that creates the imagery. It’s a step forward for us and it’s something we’ve always wanted to do on ‘Next Generation’ and we were never able to achieve.”

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