Given the technical challenges that stand in its way, the “holodeck” (as envisioned on Star Trek:The Next Generation) may not actually arrive until the 24th century. ButÂ that’s not stopping a group of Rensselaer researchers with the underâ€”construction Emergent Reality LabÂ (one of them a former Star Trek producer) fromÂ exploringÂ how the elements of a good holodeck program can be harnessedÂ as a tool for teaching and learning.
The researchersâ€”Lee Sheldon, Ben Chang, Mei Siâ€”are usingÂ a mixture of narrative, game design, and augmented and virtual reality to teach Mandarin Chinese. For the past year, tantalizing whiffs of the project have been floating around campus, always accompanied by the phrase “the Mandarin Project.”
Recently, the researchers unveiledÂ a pilotÂ projectâ€”which is officially titled “Emergent Reality Lab: The Lost Manuscript” at a presentation of projects funded by the Rensselaer Office of Research. As part of the unveiling they presented the above video. Take a look!