If you’re a tech-savvy billionaire, there’s a good chance you’re working on some straight-outta-Star Trek secret project. Such was the case with Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen who, before his death, was working on a pet project—an immersive virtual reality experience that takes users on a virtual trip, no headset required.
As Axios reports, Paul Allen’s company Vulcan debuted its new Holodome experiences at TED, and it’s a distinct step to making Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s holodeck a reality. Simply step into the dome and—thanks to a 360-degree video, four very-high-resolution projectors, enveloping sound, and haptic experiences—you can travel to the top of Mount Everest or visit Claude Monet’s Impressionist world with a fully immersive experience.
The best part about the Holodome is not that it is an immersive virtual experience, but that it’s an immersive virtual experience that you can share. That means you can climb Mount Everest with a friend, not the lonely virtual world created by most headsets. In fact, that shared experience was part of the reason Allen wanted to create the dome. Luckily, Allen got to see his pet project become a reality when he unveiled the Holodome at his Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle in May 2018. (Allen is having quite a legacy moment, with the launch of the Stratolaunch, the world’s largest airplane, which took to the skies this week.)
Of course, creating a shared virtual world is a costly proposition. According to Axios, Vulcan was at TED looking for partners to share in that experience, too. Yes, TED is Tinder for billionaires, apparently. Keep that in mind if you or your company are looking for a way to step into the future Star Trek promised us.